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Kremlin: Putin orders setting up contact with French Navy after conversation with Hollande

Russia and France may draft a joint declaration on anti-terrorist efforts by a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade on December 4

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian sailors to establish a direct contact with the French aircraft carrier after a telephone conversation with French President Francois Hollande, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"It is true that Putin and Hollande raised the theme of interaction in carrying out military operations in Syria during their telephone conversation. Putin issued an instruction to establish such contacts in continuation of this agreement," the Kremlin spokesman explained.

The Kremlin press service reported earlier on Tuesday that the Russian and French presidents focused on the need to build up bilateral and multilateral cooperation in counteracting international terrorism in the wake of a barbaric terror attack on the Russian airliner in Egypt on October 31 and the tragic events in France last weekend.

"It was decided to ensure closer contacts and improve coordination of actions between the military agencies and security services of the two countries as part of operations which Russia and France are carrying out against terrorist groups in Syria," the Kremlin press service said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the command of the Russian cruiser Moskva that is currently staying in the Mediterranean off Syria's coast to establish a direct contact with a French naval group, which is heading for the area.

"A French naval group led by an aircraft carrier will reach our area of activities soon. It is necessary to establish a direct contact with the French and work with them as if they were allies," the Russian head of state said during a visit to the National Defense Centre on Tuesday.

"The chief of the General Staff and the defense minister have received relevant instructions. It will be necessary to develop an action plan with them for operations at sea and in midair," Putin, who is the commander-in-chief of the Russian Armed Forces, said at the National Defense Centre where he had had a video conference with the military engaged in conducting the anti-terrorism operation in Syria.

Russia's military operation in Syria is designed to defend the interests of Russia and its citizens, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"When you are performing combat tasks of fighting terrorism in Syria, you are defending Russia and its citizens. I would like to thank you for your service and wish you all the best," the Russian president stressed.

Earlier, the Russian president called for intensifying the Russian air strikes in Syria. "Our war planes should not just continue their combat work in Syria. They should increase it in a way to make the criminals understand that revenge is inevitable," Putin told a conference held late on Monday, November 16, at which FSB Chief Alexander Bortnikov reported to the president that a terror attack had caused the A321 plane crash in Egypt.

Russian and French military to define areas of cooperation in Syria

Peskov said the Russian and French military will decide on the spot what kind of cooperation their armed forces should have in Syria, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Asked in what way cooperation with the French colleagues is going to differ from cooperation with the United States, Peskov said, "There has been no interaction with the US side. We are only sharing information with it. The US partners have refused any kind of cooperation so far. Russia has stressed many times it would welcome establishment of such cooperation."

Russia, France to draft anti-terror declaration by December 4

Russia's Permanent Representative at the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said Russia and France may draft a joint declaration on anti-terrorist efforts by a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade on December 4.

"We are likely to come out with a joint initiative on such document at the Vienna meeting," he said. "We will initiate this issue and our French partners actively support this idea as they have clear understanding that a most important resolution of the Belgrade meeting is to be related to anti-terrorist effort."

"Bearing in mind the terrible developments, there is serious need to draft a short but clearly worded anti-terror document that could be adopted by the ministers at the Belgrade meeting," Lukashevich said. "Declarative as might be it should set the tasks of establishing closer coordination of efforts on the anti-terror track with an understanding that this is the task for not only the OSCE but for the entire international community."

"It is high time to more decisive steps," the Russian diplomat underscored. "It is vital to put aside any pretexts, any excuses or preliminary conditions and focus on the establishment of a really universal anti-terrorist front based on international law. Russia is ready for the most close cooperation with France and other partners to build up anti-terrorist effort."

French Senate backs rapprochement with Russia to counteract terrorism

Chairman of France's Senate Gerard Larcher has spoken in favour of rapprochement between Russian and French parliaments in order to counteract global terrorism, Russia's Federation Council press service said on Tuesday.

The press service said that a phone talk between Gerard Larcher and Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, was dedicated to the "fight against terrorism and promotion of international parliamentary cooperation in the sphere."

"Matviyenko informed her French counterpart that the Federation Council session planned for November 18 will include an address to all the parliaments across the world to consolidate anti-terrorism efforts," the statement said.

"Larcher said that it was the time to align the parliaments' positions in counteracting the threat," the statement said, adding that "during the talks the sides confirmed the readiness of the two parliaments to enhance cooperation in the sphere."

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 17Nov15]

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