Russian Ambassador to France Notes Improvement in Moscow-Paris Relations

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Russian ambassador to France said that there has been a noticeable improvement in Moscow-Paris relations and a new outlook for the resumption of cooperation has emerged recently.

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PARIS (Sputnik) There has been a noticeable improvement in Moscow-Paris relations and a new outlook for the resumption of cooperation has emerged recently, the Russian ambassador to France said Thursday.

"There have been positive trends in [French-Russian] relations in recent months. One begins to sense that France has begun to grow tired of the current unhealthy situation. A gradual rethinking of the events surrounding Ukraine is occurring. People are beginning to understand that US interests in this crisis are not identical to the interests of Europe. The senselessness and counterproductiveness of the sanctions that have boomeranged on French business are becoming more and more obvious. The determination to normalize bilateral relations with Russia is becoming more apparent," Alexander Orlov told RIA Novosti in an interview.

He pointed out that in October and November 2015 meetings were held between the Russian and French presidents, a regular dialogue at the level of foreign ministers has continued and in a few days, the first meeting of the heads of government of the two countries, Dmitry Medvedev and Manuel Valls, will take place in Munich, Germany.

In January, the session of the Russian-French Council of Economic, Financial, Industrial and Trade Issues, co-chaired by Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev and French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, was held in Moscow after a long pause, Orlov added.

"The French side has clearly voiced the need to quickly turn the sanctions page in our bilateral relations," the ambassador stressed.

According to Orlov, French business is fed up with the imposed restrictions and is determined not only to maintain but also to expand cooperation with their Russian partners.

"They seek to keep their previously won positions in the Russian market, realizing that as soon they vacate the niches they occupy they will be seized by competitors. It is indicative that none of the major French companies has left Russia. We managed to save all the important joint projects," Orlov emphasized, citing such French companies as Total, Vinci, Saint-Gobain, Renault, Alstom, Schneider Electric and Auchan.

The signing in late January of an agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the French bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations setting up the Russian-French investment fund, which will become an effective instrument for financing joint projects, is a step in the right direction, he outlined.

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