Medvedev, Sarkozy to Attend St. Pete Forum

President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, will attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, a Kremlin aide said Thursday, lending some high-profile star power to the event.

Sarkozy will attend the second day of the forum, held on June 17-19, while Medvedev will be there for two days, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said, adding that Medvedev would chair a meeting of the presidential commission on modernization and economic cooperation on the eve of the visit.

Sarkozy and Medvedev will jointly chair a final plenary session of the forum, meet with business circles from the two countries and hold a series of bilateral talks, Dvorkovich said.

Last year, the two heads of state attending the forum were Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

This year's forum, coming after the country's economy began to rebound from its deepest recession since 1998, will focus on Russia's modernization, a Kremlin-backed push to wean Russia off its natural resource dependence and develop an innovation economy, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday.

The forum's agenda will consist of three main topics, Nabiullina said: rebuilding the world economy, development of the Russian economy and the influence of technology on economics, business and lifestyles.

The North Caucasus, Russia's violence-prone southern region, will be discussed in a separate session during the forum, Dvorkovich said.

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