German, French, and Russian leaders have met to discuss European security cooperation. France and Germany were expected to emphasize that a missile defense plan does not threaten Moscow.
The French President welcomes Chancellor Merkel to Deauville
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an effort to seek greater East-West co-operation on defense policy.
The summit began over dinner on Monday evening in the French resort town of Deauville, with details of the discussions to be announced on Tuesday.
Merkel and Sarkozy had met earlier in the day to agree their own position before Medvedev joined them for talks that were expected to focus on European security issues and Russia's relationship with NATO.
NATO is expected to unveil a new security vision - which would involve a European missile defense shield - at a planned meeting of the alliance in November. Medvedev has not yet said if he will attend that event, but Merkel and Sarkozy hope the talks in Deauville will win Russian support for the project.
"We will discuss whether it is possible for Russia and NATO to cooperate better, because the era of the Cold War is definitely over," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast on Saturday.
The leaders will try to show they can cooperate
Recently, Medvedev has come out in support of a new joint European security framework, but Russia has been reluctant to support a missile shield, which it fears could target Russian cities.
Another agenda item for the meeting, which an aide for Sarkozy described as a "brainstorming session," is France's upcoming role as the chair of the G-20 in 2011 when it takes over the reigns from South Korea.
Despite the informal nature of the talks, some of Germany and France's allies are a little miffed at being excluded from the conversation.
Russia is seen as turning its view more and more to the west, but continues to be at odds with some global powers like the United States on some issues.
Germany and France, however, enjoy relatively good relations with Russia, and the three leaders met in June on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Toronto.
Author: Matt Zuvela (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold