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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian and French Lawyers Forging Child Custody Deal

A custody agreement between the parents of a 3-year-old girl kidnapped by her Russian mother from France in March should be finalized in a few weeks, a French lawyer for the girl's mother, Irina Belenkaya, said Monday.

The agreement will provide for the girl to live either in France or Russia, and one of the parents could voluntarily move to the country of the girl's residence, said prominent Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping draft the agreement to bring an end to the high-profile custody battle.

"I hope we will find a decision in a few weeks," Belenkaya's lawyer Gregoire Rincourt said at a news conference in Moscow.

Kucherena said at the news conference that it was "impossible" to accept an agreement allowing the girl, Elise Andre, to spend equal time in both countries every year after she is 7 years old.

"The child has to go to school," Kucherena said.

The girl is currently with her father in France.

Belenkaya is in Hungary waiting for a local court to rule Wednesday on whether to extradite her to France, where she faces kidnapping charges.

The girl's father, Jean-Michel Andre, faces kidnapping charges in Russia after he took the girl from her mother in September.

The Investigative Committee will close the kidnapping case against the girl's father if the custody agreement is deemed to protect the girl from future violations of her rights to be with her parents, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.