SIMFEROPOL, Crimea, July 23 /TASS/. Jerome Lambert, the vice-president of the Committee for European Affairs of the French National Assembly (parliament), said on Thursday that he was against western sanctions imposed on Russia.
"We are against the sanctions which are affecting Russia, including Crimea," Lambert said at a meeting with Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean State Council (parliament), in Simferopol on Thursday.
Dialogue is the only effective way to resolve any problems, he added.
Lambert said that the French parliament had passed two resolutions on Ukraine. "The National Assembly has adopted two reports on Ukraine that condemned the Russian aggression. It is inconvenient for them that I am here… But we have come here to understand and get firsthand information about what’s going on," Lambert stressed.
The French delegation’s head Thierry Mariani shared his colleague’s view.
"While the United States is lifting sanctions imposed on Cuba, I do not see any reasons for Europe to preserve its sanctions on Russia," Thierry Mariani told journalists after meeting his Crimean colleagues, including Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea’s State Council (parliament).
He said he had felt the impact of sanctions on his own skin upon his arrival in Crimea. "Our telephones are not working because European companies are refusing to operate in this area," he said.
Mariani repeated that the purpose of the French deputies’ trip was to get firsthand information about what’s going on in Crimea. "The purpose of our trip is to talk to the people and understand what’s going on. I do not see any reasons for being panicky," he added.
The French lawmaker also shared his first impressions of Crimea. "The weather is fine, and there are no people in military uniforms," he said.
The French parliamentary delegation led by Thierry Mariani, a deputy of the French National Assembly (The Republicans) and a co-chairman of the Franco-Russian Dialogue association, arrived in Simferopol, Crimea, at 16:30 on Thursday. The French deputies will meet both the local officials and ordinary people.