Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron have started holding their first meeting in the Palace of Versailles.
The Russian president earlier arrived at the Charles De Gaulle airport and attended a welcoming ceremony and joint photo-op near the palace entrance. The guard of honor with the orchestra took part in the ceremony.
The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral and international issues, including the settlement in Syria and Ukraine, the situation in Libya and on the Korean Peninsula and Russia’s relations with the European Union.
After the high-level private meeting, the two leaders will be joined by other members of delegations during a working breakfast. Later, the presidents will give a joint press conference.
The Russian and French leaders will also attend a large exhibition in the Royal Palace devoted to the 300th anniversary of Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s first trip to France. At the conclusion of his visit, Putin will leave Versailles for Paris to attend the Russian Cultural and Spiritual Center opened in October last year.
In October 2016, there were plans for the Russian leader to visit Paris and with then-French President Francois Hollande jointly open the Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center on the Branly embankment and the exhibition of masterpieces from a collection of philanthropist Sergei Shchukin at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. However, the trip was cancelled by the Kremlin as the French side refused at the very last moment to participate in these events at the highest level (amid contradictions over Syria).