BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 05, 2002
Dushanbe, 4 December: "We commend the level of cooperation with France, but I think that it is time to give our relations a new impetus," Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov said in an interview with an Asia-Plus correspondent aboard the aircraft on the way to France yesterday.
"I hope that my official visit to France and the West as a whole will allow our partnership to be strengthened and large-scale cooperation to be started. We intend to propose to the business circles of France beneficial economic projects and hope that the French authorities will encourage investments into Tajikistan's national economy. Of course, special attention will be paid to such problems as international terrorism and the drug threat in the course of the talks," he noted.
The Asia-Plus correspondent says that an hour after his arrival in Paris, Emomali Rahmonov flew to the town of Aiglemont (110 km from Paris) to meet Prince Aga Khan IV.
Today, the head of state is to meet French Senate Chairman Christian Poncelet, and then the minister-delegate in charge of external trade, Francois Loos. An agreement on the mutual encouragement and protection of investments and an interstate agreement on cultural, scientific and technical cooperation are expected to be signed today. Meetings with the president of the French Academy of Science, Hubert Curien, and Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie are also planned for today. Rahmonov's meeting with French President Jacques Chirac is scheduled on 6 December.
At the end of the week, the Tajik delegation will also hold talks with the minister of interior, internal security and local liberties, Nicolas Sarkozy, with the heads of 15 major companies and the chairman of the French consortium of exporters, and will visit the Eurocopter helicopter manufacturing plant and the cascade of the power station in Marseille.
Source: Asia-Plus news agency, Dushanbe, in Russian 1432 gmt 4 Dec 02