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December 5, 2020

France and Germany aim to enhance Russia ties at summit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy started two days of talks with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The summit in the Normandy seaside resort of Deauville is expected to discuss ways of enhancing economic and security co-operation between the EU and Russia, BBC reports. Germany and France also want to build closer ties between Russia and NATO.

NATO will unveil its new strategy in Lisbon next month, and European leaders hope Medvedev will lend his support. This is being billed as a brainstorming session for the three leaders.

No big decisions are expected – not least because the German and French leaders do not want to be seen to be bypassing the European Union – but they will be discussing big ideas such as a proposed security and economic partnership.

French officials say that tensions between Russia and the West have eased over the last couple of years, and they detect a new openness on the part of Moscow, which they want to consolidate.

There are differences – notably over NATO’s proposed European missile shield, which will be the main subject of discussion at the alliance’s upcoming summit. But even on this, Moscow seems less suspicious than it used to, and the German and French leaders will try to persuade Mr Medvedev that Russia too could benefit.

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