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Putin postpones planned visit to France

Paris, Oct 11 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to postpone his planned trip to France to talk about Syria with French President Francois Hollande, authorities said on Tuesday.

Putin has cancelled the visit without setting a new date for his meeting with Hollande, Xinhua news agency quoted France’s presidency spokesman as saying.

Paris said that the planned event, which was to include talks about the situation in Syria, was never officially announced, although Russian media were already reporting on the meeting in spring.

The original purpose of Putin’s trip was to attend the inauguration ceremony of a “spiritual and cultural Russian Orthodox center”, although Paris later said it would include a “work session on Syria”.

According to French media, the Kremlin considered this formula for a meeting between Hollande and Putin “humiliating”, which is why the trip was ultimately cancelled.

France, however, is intent on not burning any diplomatic bridges with Russia, especially in the light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has yet to see a durable solution.

Therefore, France’s official policy regarding Russia, according to Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, is still to neither break off ties with the country nor show complacency.

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