Moscow: Russia is interested in acquiring a larger stake in European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co, the parent company of airline manufacturer Airbus, President Vladimir Putin said.
Such “meaningful cooperation would be interesting and useful not only for Russian producers but for their European partners,” Putin said on 22 February during a meeting with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.
A larger acquisition was “in no way a step in the direction of an unfriendly acquisition”, he said.
Russia’s state-owned OAO Vneshtorgbank alarmed EADS and its political patrons last year by declaring it had amassed a 5% stake in the Franco-German defence group.
French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela later reiterated that a Russian seat on the EADS board was out of the question.
Douste-Blazy, meanwhile, told Putin that Russia should buy more Airbus-350 passenger jets, and said France was interested in buying Russian helicopters for use in fighting forest fires.
Alliot-Marie said she saw great cooperation in the field of manufacturing heavy-lifting helicopters as well as reconnaissance planes and unmanned aircraft.
Putin also announced that Chirac would be traveling to Russia at the end of March.
In Paris, Chirac’s office confirmed the invitation and said the French president was considering the request.