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Russian MP: Putin’s cancelled visit to France does not mean chill in relations with France

At the same time, the French leader’s hesitation about his meeting with the Russian president could not be ignored in Moscow

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to cancel his visit to Paris in no way signals a chill in relations with France, a Russian senior lawmaker said on Tuesday.

"It is not a new phase of deterioration in relations. President Putin respects himself and respects his country," Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, told journalists.

In his words, the French leader’s hesitation about his meeting with the Russian president could not be ignored in Moscow.

According to the Russian lawmaker, France’s position on that matter seems to stem from its "resentment" that Russia refused to vote for the France-initiated draft resolution on Syria. "It is a pained reaction of the French," he said.

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande expressed doubt whether his talks with Putin were needed amid the differences with Russia over Syria. Later France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Hollande would make a final decision on his personal meeting with Putin "taking into consideration the situation in Syria."

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Putin had decided cancel his visit to Paris scheduled for October 19 to wait for a date that would suit his French counterpart Francois Hollande.

"The president has made a decision to cancel this visit (to Paris)," Peskov said, explaining:

"The case is that certain events linked to the opening of a Russian cultural center and holding exhibitions had been scheduled. Unfortunately, these events fell out of the program and that’s why the president decided that now the visit to the French Republic will be cancelled."

Addressing a plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Tuesday, Hollande said that dialogue with Russia on Syria is possible but is should be conducted "on firm and clear terms." He demanded Moscow stop its air operation in that country. Earlier in the day, he said he is ready to meet with the Russian leader any time.