MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that parliamentarians of Russia and France will facilitate development of bilateral relations.
"Relations between France and Russia are developing" despite well-known difficulties, Putin said on Tuesday at the meeting with French Senate Speaker Gerard Larcher at the Kremlin. The Russian leader noted that contacts between Moscow and Paris are maintained at the parliamentary level, as well as at the level of executive authorities and in the sphere of business.
"The parliamentary dimensions is, of course, very important because we need support from parliamentarians. Of course, suitable atmosphere should be created for developing relations," he noted.
Talking about contacts at the highest level, Putin noted that he met with the French president five times last year and spoke with him over the telephone 23 times.
The Russian president welcomed Larcher in Moscow. "We know you as a supporter of development of our inter-state relations," he told the French Senate speaker.
Larcher, in turn, told Putin that he met with French business circles in Moscow on Monday. "They are very happy to live and work in Moscow," the Senate speaker noted. He also said that in October, the respective committees on foreign affairs of the two countries will hold a meeting in Moscow.
The Kremlin press service said before the meeting that trade turnover between Russia and France fell to $18.2 billion in 2014 "due to negative tendencies in the French economy, complicated situation in the Eurozone, as well as European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions policy." "In 2015, the volume of Russian-French trade turnover decreased in comparison with 2014 by 36.2% to $11.6 billion. At the same time, Russian export fell by 24.6% to $5.7 billion, import fell by 44.5% to $5.9 billion," the press release said.