Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian will travel to Moscow on September 8 to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
This working visit is part of France’s stepped-up dialogue with Russia, particularly on the most important international crises. Sergey Lavrov had visited Paris on July 6, and Jean-Yves Le Drian was hosted in Moscow on June 20.
Their discussions will be devoted in large part to Libya, which Mr. Le Drian had visited on September 4. He will share the conclusions he drew from that visit with his interlocutor. The situation in Syria and in particular the establishment of the international contact group to promote a solution to the conflict will also be on the agenda. Preparations of a Security Council resolution to step up pressure on the North Korean regime – a resolution requested by France and several of its partners – will also be discussed. Other topics are security and stability challenges in Europe, especially the situation in eastern Ukraine, in line with the last Normandy-format meeting of heads of state and government on August 22.
Following President Vladimir Putin’s visit to France on May 29, the ministers will also touch on several bilateral issues, particularly the establishment of the French-Russian civil society forum known as the Trianon Dialogue. In keeping with the wish expressed by the two presidents, this dialogue will help young people as well as economic, cultural, artistic, and intellectual figures in Russia and France to get to know each other better in order to overcome potential misunderstandings.
The dialogue between France and Russia is both open and exacting on political issues.
In the economic sphere, France and Russia remain major partners. French exports to Russia again rose in 2016 (up 8.3%). In 2016, as in 2015, France was the leading provider of FDI. The resumption of meetings of the Franco-Russian Council for Economic, Financial, Industrial and Commercial Cooperation (CEFIC) gave rise to in-depth discussions on the main challenges in our bilateral economic relationship.
In the cultural sphere, relations between France and Russia are close-knit, as reflected by the exhibits “Icons of Modern Art – The Shchukin Collection” at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris last winter, “Saint Louis and Relics of the Sainte-Chapelle” at the Moscow Kremlin Museums this past spring, and “Peter the Great, a Tsar in France,” marking the 300th anniversary of the Tsar’s visit to France in 1717 and the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Russia.