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Published on January 31, 2014
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Europe 1

Paris, January 30, 2014

Q. – Why is Vladimir Putin becoming what L’Express today calls a superstar? Why does he stand out in this way in the world today?

THE MINISTER – Vladimir Putin has a very clear foreign policy. At the same time, I think it’s the weakness of a number of other powers which…

Q. – You mean the United States? Europe?

THE MINISTER – No, generally speaking. And then, at the same time, he has a skill which leads him, for example – even though, as you remember, for a long time he said there weren’t any chemical weapons in Syria – not only, one day, to acknowledge their existence, but, what’s more, to help dismantle them – we should incidentally go faster on this. So there you are.

Russia is a traditional friend of France – that doesn’t mean that we share all its positions, which is far from the case, but Russia has to be reckoned with.

Q. – And more visas need to be issued in spite of Schengen or by making Schengen more flexible for Russian students, politicians, tourists…

THE MINISTER – Yes, of course, it’s a position I’ve adopted, which isn’t yet shared by all Europeans, but I’m going to continue. I think that, precisely, if we want to help Russian society change, and if we want to develop exchanges, we must do away with the requirement for certain visas for Russians wishing to visit France and vice versa (…)./.