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‘Putin and I have disagreements, discussed them in frank exchange’ – Macron

Monday - 29/05/2017 12:46
The two leaders met for the first time and their talks lasted almost three hours.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, held a joint press conference after their meeting in Versailles. During talks the two leaders discussed a number of issues ranging from bilateral relations to the situations in Syria, Ukraine, Libya and the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders met for the first time and their talks lasted almost three hours. Macron said that "Franco-Russian friendship" was at the heart of his meeting with Putin.

President Macron admitted he has “some disagreements” with his Russian counterpart, but said that the two leaders discussed them openly in a frank exchange of views. 

Putin also said that the two leaders have some differences, but also said that they assess many issues in a similar way, and that French-Russian relations could be “qualitatively” improved.

“We sought … common ground [in dealing] with key issues of the international agenda. And I believe that we see it. We are able to … at least try to start resolving the key modern problems together,” Putin said.

© Christophe Archambault / AFP 

The Russian leader also invited his French counterpart to Russia.

“I invite Mr. President [Emmanuel Macron] to Russia. I hope that he will be able to spend several weeks in Moscow,” he said.

Putin said he outlined Russia’s position on Syria to Macron and said that terrorism cannot be defeated by dismantling a country’s statehood.

“It is impossible to fight a terrorist threat by dismantling the statehood of those countries that already suffer from some internal problems and conflicts,” he said at the joint press conference.

The French president said that serious international problems cannot be resolved without Moscow, as he stressed the importance of the role Russia plays in the modern world.

“No major problem in the world can be solved without Russia,” he said during the press conference.

He also said that France is interested in intensifying cooperation with Russia, particularly in resolving the Syrian crisis. The French leader went on to say that this issue demands “an inclusive political solution.”

Macron said that fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) remains an “absolute priority” for France and serves as one of the reasons for the reinforcement of cooperation with Russia.

At the same time, he also said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that should not be crossed, adding that the use of such weapons in Syria would trigger a “reprisal” from France.

President Putin said that Russia and France are determined to cooperate in resolving the crises in Syria, Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula, as well as to fight terrorism together. The Russian leader added that he and Macron had particularly agreed to establish a working group on fighting terrorism.

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