MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron may visit Russia both before the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2018 and he may take part in that forum, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said on Monday.
He reminded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had for the first time invited the French leader to visit Russia when they had met in early summer in France. "When the presidents had a meeting in Versailles in early summer, our president, naturally, invited Macron to pay a visit to Russia. The sides were supposed to decide what kind of a visit it could be - either an official or a working - later," Ushakov said, adding that "both options are convenient" for Moscow.
"It was decided that the French side would give a positive response to this invitation and possible date of this visit would be later agreed through diplomatic channels," he went on to say. "It means that the invitation was conveyed and received. Concrete dates have not yet been discussed."
According to the Kremlin aide, during a telephone conversation with Macron in September Putin invited his French counterpart to take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum as a guest of honor. "As is known, the Japanese prime minister [Shinzo Abe] has confirmed his participation in the forum and the French president might be among the chief participants, along with Mr. Abe," Ushakov noted. "We have received a positive reaction on that matter and the French president said he would be glad to take part in the Petersburg Forum."
"So, there are two invitations, both with positive reaction. As for the date, we know when the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is to be held, so, we suppose that the French president will realize his consent to be a key guest," the president’s aide said. "As for the visit, obviously, we will discuss some timeframes with the French colleagues. I don’t rule out that this visit may take place before the Petersburg forum.".