Murmansk (Russia) – France is not planning to retaliate symmetrically to the recent decision of the Russian authorities to suspend the operation of the French government agency — Business France in Russia, French Ambassador in Russia Sylvie Bermann said on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, the French Embassy in Russia announced that Business France, an agency supporting French business in Russia and operating as part of the diplomatic mission, was “no longer allowed to work in Russia under the provisions of French law.
Subsequently, the embassy closed its service which administered the agency’s operations.
According to the diplomatic mission, the conditions for the work of Business France in Russia had deteriorated over the recent months, including “illegal” blocking of its bank accounts and expulsion of its director Pierric Bonnard.
“There is no such task; we just decided to close our trade mission in Russia.
“However, both French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin favour maintaining trade, maintaining relations,’’ the ambassador told newsmen during her trip to Russia’s northern city of Murmansk, answering the question on whether France is planning to offer mirror response.
According to Bermann, the trade mission was closed, because the Russian authorities believe such an activity is illegal.
The closure puts an end to the long-standing dispute on the status of the trade mission in Russia.
The Business France director was among the diplomats expelled from Russia as a response to the expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff from France over the allegations of Moscow’s involvement in the poisoning of former double spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in UK Salisbury earlier in March.
Russia has however repeatedly denied claims of orchestrating the attack. (Sputnik/NAN)
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