Eleven French parliamentarians, led by deputy of the French National Assembly, co-chairman of the Association Franco-Russian Dialogue Thierry Mariani are departing for Crimea on Friday on a three-day visit to meet with the local authorities and residents of the peninsula, as well as take part in the celebrations on the occasion of Russia’s Navy Day.
This will be the second trip of the French lawmakers to the peninsula after its reunification with Russia. The delegation, the same as last year, will be accompanied by the head of the Russian Peace Foundation, Chairman of the State Duma CIS Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky. The Foreign Ministry of the French Republic has again objected to the French parliamentarians’ visit to Crimea.
“The delegation will comprise half of those who had visited Crimea last year, as well as six people who will travel there for the first time,” Thierry Mariani said on Thursday. In particular, among the officials who will visit Crimea for the first time, he said, will be head of the French delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michel Voisin.
Mariani added that “despite the intimidation and the international situation,” his colleagues “are interested in seeing the things as they are.” According to Mariani, a total of some 30 French parliamentarians would like to go to Crimea.
Among the issues the French parliamentarians intend to discuss in Crimea is the status of the Crimean Tatar population and the state of the peninsula’s economy, Leonid Slutsky said. “The most pressing issues for the European public include the Crimean Tatars status, the construction of the Kerch Bridge and the state of the economy. These and many other issues will be discussed during the visit,” he said.
The lawmaker expressed confidence that “it will be a landmark visit for Crimea, Sevastopol and the Russian-French inter-parliamentary cooperation,” which, in his opinion, “does not stop, despite the sanctions, despite the position of the official authorities of the French Republic.”