French article about Medvedev-Putin-Sarkozy meeting a provocation -Putin's press secretary
MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov has described a French magazine's article addressing, among other issues, an August 12 meeting of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an insinuation and a provocation.
Peskov said in an interview with Interfax on Friday that the information given in the article "is largely of a provocative nature, given the time when it appeared."
On Friday, Nice is hosting a Russia-EU summit, at which the EU will be represented by French President Sarkozy.
On Thursday, France's magazine Le Nouvel Observateur published an article, which, referring to the French president's aide Jean-David Levitte, contains remarks allegedly made by Putin, who supposedly threatened to "hang" Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. "Why not? Americans hanged [Saddam] Hussein, did they not?" Putin allegedly said, according to the French magazine.
The article also addresses a meeting between Medvedev and Sarkozy, which allegedly took place on September 9. According to the magazine, during the meeting, the French president tried to put pressure on his Russian counterpart to persuade him to accept a South Ossetia conflict settlement plan.
"When the six-point plan was discussed, the Russian party blocked these negotiations because of one key phrase. Then Sarkozy threatened to leave, saying to Medvedev: "Dmitry, you are 42 years old. You are a young leader, and everyone has a good opinion of you. This is an incredible chance. Don't miss it. If you reject it, I will not be able to stop Europeans from adopting sanctions against you. Do you want to become an outcast?"," the magazine said.
The Russian prime minister's press secretary confirmed that tough remarks about Georgian President Saakashvili were made during the trilateral meeting in the Kremlin on August 12.
"Indeed, the meeting addressed the situation related to Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia, and tough rhetoric was heard in relation to Saakashvili," Peskov said.
"To say the least, we are surprised by the publication of this information, which refers to the French president's adviser," he said.
"As for other insinuations in this article, which are largely of a provocative nature, given the moment of their appearance, I can say only one thing - the head of state, Medvedev, takes all major decisions in the foreign policy area. Putin is prime minister, and he fulfills his functions," Peskov said.
Asked whether or not the authorities in Paris will officially be informed of Russia's attitude to this article, the prime minister's press secretary said: "We shall do everything at the proper time."
It is known that Sarkozy met with Medvedev in the Kremlin on August 12. Putin joined their meeting later.
A six-point plan intended to help settle the conflict over South Ossetia, which was named the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, was announced after this meeting.
On September 8, Sarkozy visited Russia again and met with Medvedev in Barvikha outside Moscow. During their meeting, the two presidents agreed upon the terms of Russian troops' withdrawal from Georgia's territory.