23:06 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Thierry Mariani, a former French Minister of Transport and current member of the French National Assembly

    French Delegation’s Visit to Crimea ‘Message’ to Russian Friends – Lawmaker

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    The visit is aimed to show that there a lot of politicians and ordinary people in France who oppose the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West, Thierry Mariani, head of the delegation, said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A French delegation’s visit to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea is a message of solidarity to their “Russian friends,” to show that many French politicians are against the EU policy of anti-Moscow sanctions, former French Transport Minister and current member of parliament Thierry Mariani told Sputnik Thursday.

    “It’s important because I think that it is a message, first to our good friends in the [Russian State] Duma that we have known for such a long time,” Mariani said, adding that a lot of politicians and ordinary people in France are against the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

    On Thursday, a delegation of French lawmakers, headed by Mariani, will arrive in Crimea for a trip that will last until July 26. According to Mariani, the main goal of the visit is to find out the truth about recent developments in Crimea, as Western media has only given a one-sided account of events since its reunification with Russia.

    Paris has expressed its disapproval of the French delegation’s trip to Crimea, Mariani said, adding, however, that “I respect the position of my country. It’s not my position, it’s the position of my country, unfortunately, I’m in the opposition, but I have a right as a member of the parliament to have my own position and have a right to go to whatever country I want.”

    Following Crimea's reunification with Russia in March 2014, Moscow's relations with the West, including France, deteriorated. The European Union, together with the United States and some of their other partners, imposed a series of sanctions against Russia over its alleged violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Moscow has rejected the allegations, saying that all of its actions were in accordance with international law.

    The French parliamentarians' visit is the first high-profile visit by Western politicians to Crimea since the peninsula rejoined Russia after a referendum, where some 96 percent of voters who turned out cast their ballots in favor of reunification with Russia.

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    France, sanctions, visit, Thierry Mariani, Crimea, Russia
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