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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Sarkozy hails talks with Putin
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands in  Novo Ogaryovo
It is Mr Sarkozy's first bilateral summit with Mr Putin
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he bridged differences with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, over the Iranian nuclear stand-off.

"Our positions moved much closer," he said after talks at Mr Putin's dacha near Moscow, but did not elaborate.

Russian officials made no public mention of progress. The two leaders are to hold more talks shortly.

Mr Sarkozy has been pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran but Russia has opposed the move.

Last week, Mr Sarkozy accused Moscow of "complicating" the world's problems.

He said that Russia "should understand that big countries have not only rights, but also responsibilities".

Kosovo status

"I really felt a convergence (over Iran)," Mr Sarkozy told reporters after more than three hours of the informal talks at Mr Putin's dacha in Novo Ogaryovo on Tuesday evening.

Tehran denies Western accusations that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Mr Sarkozy also said the two leaders had made progress in ironing out their differences over the issue of Kosovo's future status.

Russia is fiercely opposed to independence for Serbia's breakaway province, while France - along with other Western nations - supports it.

Mr Sarkozy said Mr Putin wanted to avoid closing "the door on a solution".

"We saw a path which could eventually allow us to bring our views closer," he said.

Mr Sarkozy and Mr Putin are meeting again on Wednesday.

They are expected to discuss possible collaboration between the European aerospace firm, EADS, and its Russian counterpart, UAC, on the construction of a new passenger jet, as well as the partnership between the energy giants, France's Total and Russia's Gazprom.

The two leaders will then hold a joint news conference.



SEE ALSO
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28 Sep 07 |  Middle East
Countdown begins for Kosovo
27 Sep 07 |  Europe
Q&A: Iran and the nuclear issue
03 Oct 07 |  Middle East
Compromise in Barents Sea gas deal
06 Sep 07 |  Business



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