YEREVAN, April 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on his French counterpart Francois Hollande to take steps to improve relations between the two countries.
The Russian leader said on Friday relations between Russia and France "are not at their best, with trade going down, which is regrettable." "We must take steps to improve our relations," he underscored.
The Russian president said he planned to discuss with his French counterpart prospects for the development of Russia’s relations with France and with the European Union in general.
"It cannot but be regrettable," Putin said. "We must look for ways to improve our relations. I think we all are interested in that."
Putin invited Hollande to discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian settlement. "I know you did much to have these agreements reached and you have been keeping a close eye on that matter," Putin noted.
"You are absolutely right, we see that relations between Russia and the European Union have deteriorated dramatically over the Ukrainian crisis," Hollande said. "The best way to get out of this situation is to go on with the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We wanted this, we worked on these agreements and spared no effort to implement them."
The French leader said Paris could and must pool efforts with Moscow to solve problems of Syria, Iran, and Libya. "We have other areas where we need Russia, where should pool efforts," Hollande said at a meeting with the Russian president.
"We need both the role of Russia and the role of France on a range of difficult issues, such as Syria, Iran, Libya," Hollande said, adding that his today’s meeting with Putin was important in this connection.