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SIMFEROPOL, July 23. /TASS/. An airliner with French lawmakers on board has landed at Simferopol airport, a TASS correspondent reports from the airport.
Later on Thursday, the delegation headed by the member of the French National Assembly from the Union for a Popular Movement, Thierry Mariani, is planning to meet Crimea’s leader Sergey Aksyonov and Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov.
Crimea’s State Council parliament told TASS that French lawmakers would be provided with an opportunity to communicate personally with local residents. In breaks between meetings, the lawmakers are going to stroll along central streets, asking the passers-by about anything.
"We are not preparing any meetings with people," the State Council’s spokeswoman, Lyudmila Mokhova, told TASS. "If during a walk any of our guests would like to ask passers-by any questions, of course, nobody will stop him."
Aksyonov is certain that the French lawmakers will have a chance to make sure that "it is safe and secure here and the people made their choice voluntarily [during the 2014 referendum]."
Earlier, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament Sergey Naryshkin advised the French delegation at a meeting in Moscow to talk to local residents in Crimea. He expressed hope that "their stay in Crimea will allow to assess the situation in the peninsula unbiasedly and to understand the people’s moods."
"I am sure the people will tell you honestly what they felt and how they lived for 23 years — from 1991 until 2014 — when due to circumstances, Crimea was peacefully but, nevertheless, annexed by Ukraine," he said.
Following official meetings, the French delegation will head to the resort city of Yalta, planning to visit its embankment for talks with holiday-makers and city residents and to go on an excursion to the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II’s Livadia Palace.
On July 24, the members of France’s parliament are to visit the Federal City of Sevastopol in order to have meetings with its Governor Sergey Menyailo and the city lawmakers and also to visit exhibitions and museums of the city called the City of Glory in Russia.