MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has cancelled his visit to Paris on October 19 as France had send a signal "It is not the time for visits."
Nonetheless, Putin told the Russia Calling forum on Wednesday that he has "a very good relationship" with French President Francois Hollande.
"In fact, we have not even cancelled the visit. However, France let us understand that it was not the time to unveil the Russian cultural center and to talk about humanitarian issues so the events should be postponed," Putin said.
"We answered: ‘OK. It’s all right. We didn’t actually insist on coming’," Putin said.
"I have been telling the partners not once that if it was not the time, let’s postpone (the visit) but France used to reply constantly - no, no, we must do it," he said. "If we must, okay, we’ll do. Then they said - no, it was not the right time. Good, if it is not the time, let’s put it off."
"My press secretary [Dmitry Peskov] said that we had cancelled [the visit to France] to strengthen our position," the Russian president went on to say.
On Tuesday, Peskov announced that Putin had made a decision to cancel a visit to Paris where he was due to open a Russian cultural and spiritual center.
"In our relationship with France, the French people, and moreover, with French investors, nothing has been changed," he said, noting that "relations with the French people and French business have remained totally unchanged."
"I am hopeful nothing serious would affect our relationship with France as a state, and with our counterparts at a political level," Putin said, adding "I have a very good personal relationship with President Hollande. I appreciate it a lot and hope that it would help us surmount any current difficulties."