Minister-counselor, Deputy Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Russia Paul-Bertrand Barets thanked the Nizhny Novgorod City Press Center for its work.
"Thank you very much for your invitation. You have a great press center, which I liked very much," he said during a meeting with the media.
An employee of the City Press Center gave the diplomat a gift of comemorative medals that celebrate the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod. Barets thanked those in attendance, saying in Russian: "Thank you, Russian friends!"
The official expressed his hope that the participation of France in the World Cup and the arrival of a large number of French fans will improve bilateral relations.
"An event like the World Cup, which supports certain sports values and encourages mutual respect and our interest in sports, plays an important role in enhancing Russia's image abroad. Judging from the opinions of the French fans who have come to Kazan, Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and who will come to St. Petersburg, I can say that their perception is changing for the better. There are a lot of positive remarks in the French media. We hope that we can build on our mutual relationship with Russia's help," Barets said.
He added that the French people are very fond of Russian culture and Nizhny Novgorod.
"This year, Paris hosted a book exhibition, and the Russian pavilion was a big success among my compatriots. Despite political disagreements, the love of the French people for Russia has remained unchanged. All our people have read about the adventures of Jules Verne's Michael Strogoff (the hero of an adventure novel that takes place on the banks of the Volga River), and know Nizhny Novgorod and its fair. It is part of our culture, too," the official said.