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Russia: Putin Reassuring French Investors

Paris, 31 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Vladimir Putin met today with top French businessmen and industrialists in an effort to lure foreign investments into his country's ailing economy. Putin, who attended an EU-Russia summit in Paris yesterday, said he was determined to improve Russia's business climate. During talks with the head of the MEDEF, France's most influential employers' group, Putin invited French businessmen to come to Moscow next week and see for themselves the situation on the ground.

MEDEF Chairman Ernest-Antoine Seilleire said he had been impressed by Putin's apparent determination to make his country safe for investors.

Later today, Putin will meet with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. Russia and the EU yesterday discussed a possible increase in EU imports of Russian natural gas over the next 20 years. But no agreement was reached on future supplies or investments.