Russia congratulates French first couple on baby girl

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday congratulated French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on the birth of a baby girl.

"I'd like to warmly congratulate you and your spouse on such an important and joyful event -- the birth of a daughter," Putin, who is expected to reclaim the presidency next year, said in a statement, using the familiar form to address the French leader.

"I wish with all my heart for your baby girl to grow up healthy and happy and to please her parents with her successes. May good luck always be with her," said Putin, whose two adult daughters are never officially photographed.

In a separate short statement Medvedev, who is expected to step aside next year, also congratulated France's first couple.

The short statement posted on the Kremlin website did not provide any further details. The French first couple's daughter was born late Wednesday.

Medvedev is married to his former high school sweetheart Svetlana, and the couple has a teenage son, who is also shielded from the media.

Since becoming first lady in 2008, Svetlana Medvedeva has vigorously campaigned to promote motherhood in Russia whose population is rapidly declining.

© 2011 AFP

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