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Putin arrives in France for first meeting with Macron

May 29, 2017, 14:58 UTC+3 VERSAILLES

Last time Putin visited France in November 2015

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© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool

VERSAILLES, May 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in France to hold his first meeting with new French President Emmanuel Macron in the Palace of Versailles.

The Russian and French leaders will also attend a large exhibition in the Royal Palace devoted to the 300th anniversary of Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s first trip to France. At the conclusion of his visit, Putin will leave Versailles for Paris to attend the Russian Cultural and Spiritual Center opened in October last year.

The agenda of the upcoming talks in the Palace of Versailles covers a wide range of issues: from the intensification of Russian-French political, economic and cultural cooperation to the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, Syria and Libya and on the Korean peninsula.

As Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists, the French president proposed to his Russian counterpart to jointly visit the exhibition in Versailles and "hold informal talks in quite a narrow format" during their first telephone talk on May 18.

"We supported this idea and believe that the visit to Versailles offers a possibility for a sincere and trustworthy exchange of opinions on a wide range of issues," Ushakov said.

The talks between Putin and Macron will first be held in a narrow format and then in the format of a working breakfast. A joint press conference by both leaders is planned after the talks.

As the Kremlin aide said, during their visit to the exhibition in Versailles, both leaders will "continue their discussion." No documents are being prepared for signing today as "the presidents simply want to get acquainted and know each other better and agree on further contacts," the Kremlin aide said.

Last time Putin visited France in late November 2015 to take part in the international conference on climate change in Paris. Two months before that, the Russian president took part in a meeting of the Normandy format leaders in the French capital.

In October 2016, there were plans for the Russian leader to visit Paris to open jointly with then-French President Francois Hollande the Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center on the Branly embankment and the exhibition of masterpieces from a collection of philanthropist Sergei Shchukin at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. However, the trip was cancelled by the Kremlin as the French side refused at the very last moment to participate in these events at the highest level (amid contradictions over Syria).

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