French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Moscow on an official visit. The politician had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and released a few public statements.
In particular, he said that France was going to ask the Russian authorities to assist the French in the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
"I hope that we will meet with Vladimir Putin, and I'll ask him to help the French troops organize their withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the transportation of equipment," said the French president before his meeting with the Russian counterpart.
Hollande also said that he was going to discuss the issue of Syria, in particular the opportunity for Bashar al-Assad to resign. The French president agreed that the positions of Moscow and Paris were very different on the conflict in Syria, but he is confident that a military solution to the problem is impossible.
As for the situation in Mali, Hollande said that French troops would leave the country as soon as they hand over control of the region to African peacekeepers. Hollande stressed out that the presence of French troops in Mali was not dictated by the interests of Paris, but by the need to combat terrorist groups in North Africa.
The French leader paid attention to the controversial move made by actor Gerard Depardieu, who refused from the French citizenship because of high taxes. "If Gerard Depardieu loves Russia, and Russia loves Gerard Depardieu, then so be it. Gerard Depardieu is an artist in a way, and his rules of life are not comparable with the rules of life of ordinary citizens, not even of the president," he said, noting that France still appreciated the merits of the actor.
Hollande and Putin will also discuss cooperation between the two countries in the fields of trade, energy, investment, innovation, high technology and humanitarian cooperation.