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Russia: Yeltsin Awards French President Top Honor

Moscow, 25 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin paid today unusual tribute to France by attributing French President Jacques Chirac Russia's top state honour.

Yeltsin, who enjoys a close relationship with Chirac, greeted the French leader shortly after he arrived in Moscow and precented him with the Order for Services To the Fatherland.

Itar-tass said Chirac was the first foreign head of state to be awarded the top honour, conferred usually on Russian citizens.

No agreements are expected to be signed during Chirac's three-day visit to Russia. The French President is scheduled to meet with top Russian officials in Moscow and will focus on expanding France's economic with Russia. On Saturday, the final day of his trip, Chirac will travel to St. Petersburg.