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Putin To Discuss Arms And Business In Paris

The sale of French-built Mistral warships is on the agenda during Putin's visit.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is meeting with French leaders in Paris for talks expected to focus on the sale of four Mistral warships to Russia and closer bilateral cooperation in several economic sectors, particularly energy.

Putin is set to meet today with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and tomorrow with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The sale of the four warships faces several stumbling blocks, including Sarkozy's declaration that the deal does not include military equipment.

But Putin has since let it be known that he will not agree to a deal that does not include a transfer of technology. In addition, Sarkozy would like two of the ships to be built in France, while the Russians want to purchase one Mistral and construct the other three in Russia.

The deal has provoked anxiety among Russia's neighbors, particularly Georgia and the Baltic countries.

compiled from agency reports