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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France and Russia Sign Aerospace Deal

PARIS - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and French counterpart Lionel Jospin on Monday signed a deal to boost their nations' aviation and aerospace cooperation, which include plans for Russia's Aeroflot to buy about 30 Airbus aircraft, Jospin's office said.

Kasyanov is on a three-day visit to France to strengthen economic cooperation at a time when the nations' diplomatic relations have cooled, notably over disagreement on Russia's war in the breakaway province of Chechnya.

Under the deal, European aerospace giant EADS and Russian businesses will share more information and classified data.

The accord also includes a letter of intent for Russia's state-controlled Aeroflot to buy about 30 jets from European consortium Airbus Industrie, and a contract for the Euro-Russian group Starsem to launch several European meteorological satellites starting in 2005, according to a Jospin aide.

Kasyanov's trip to France followed an October visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin that helped smooth the two countries' relations. Among other diplomatic strains, France has been one of the most vocal critics of the way Russia has handled the conflict in Chechnya.

Kasyanov, who was accompanied by several Cabinet ministers, including vice premiers Ilya Klebanov and Alexei Gordeyev, was to participate in a meeting of a Franco-Russian economic commission later Monday.

Before leaving on Tuesday, Kasyanov was scheduled to meet the head of France's National Assembly and the country's most influential group of business leaders.