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France to keep pressing for visa-free relations with Russia - senator

November 02, 2013, 1:52 UTC+3

"Suffice it to recall several dozens flights from Russian airports to Israel,” Margelov said

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MOSCOW, November 1 (Itar-Tass) - France will do its utmost for the sake of lifting visa requirements between Russian and the EU, the Chairman of the France-Russia Friendship Group of the French Senate, Patrice Gelard, said Friday.

Germany does not object, yet there are issues with Poland and with the Baltic countries, he said.

Russian presidential envoy for Africa, chairman of the Federation Council's foreign affairs committee Mikhail Margelov appreciated France’s contribution to efforts for settling the issue, but at the same time noted that “if you go to Tallinn or Riga for a weekend, in restaurants and shops you will hear no other language but Russian.” He urged France to persuade its Baltic partners to take a pragmatic approach.

Margelov cited Israel as an example. In the Cold War era diplomatic relations with that country were frozen, but “now Israel has abolished visa requirements for Russians, which has had an obvious economic effect.

"Suffice it to recall several dozens flights from Russian airports to Israel,” Margelov said. To Gelard’s recommendation for the Russian parliament to engage in a discussion with Russia's neighbouring countries, Margelov replied it was most difficult to “come to an agreement with relatives”.

Gelard told his Russian colleagues the French parliament had done all it could for the sake of prompt ratification of the Russian-French child adoption agreement, which Russia ratified in 2012. A total of 400 families in France are awaiting a final decision and hope it will be made this year, he added.

He said the French legislators would also appreciate Russia’s participation in World War I anniversary events due in Paris next year. Margelov promised that a Russian delegation would take part in the ceremonies.

"Russia and France have a great deal to share today and will have in the future. We cooperate with our French partners in settling current conflicts in Africa. Certainly, we should not forget our common past," he remarked.



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