Rights activists in Paris protest Putin visit

Demonstrators hold flags and a banner reading "No to Russian agression" and "Unity makes strength" during a gathering at Trocadero next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Sunday, May 28, 2017 to protest against the visit of.

Monday's visit comes seven months after the Russian leader cancelled a trip to Paris amid a row over Syria with Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande, who had said Russia's bombing of Aleppo could amount to war crimes.

Standing next to his Russian counterpart, France's new president also pledged to defend "all people, all minorities".

Macron, at the G7 summit in Sicily at the weekend said: "It is essential to talk to Russian Federation because there are a number of global issues that will not be resolved without a tough dialogue with them".

Putin said that Macron had not raised the election issue during Monday's meeting, but the French leader retorted that he had done so when they talked on the phone after his victory.

Macron said the two also discussed LGBT rights in Chechnya.

"I will not give an inch on this", the French leader said.

He says they're "totally distinct from diplomatic contacts" that Macron, the president, now has.

While Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad, France supports rebel groups trying to overthrow him.

He did not specify what form such reprisals could take, but France flies warplanes over Syria and Iraq, striking Islamic State targets as part of an worldwide coalition.

First things first, Western Europe needs to understand that without Russian Federation, without serious and stable relations with Russian Federation there can be no European security.

"There could not be a more important time for France's leader to speak out strongly about the need for its Russian partner to recommit to liberty and human rights", Benedicte Jeannerod, France director at Human Rights Watch, said in a May 29 statement. I believe we've had an extremely frank and direct exchange.

Macron's relatively simple greeting of Putin belies a complicated relationship between the two leaders.

"I am convinced that France and Russia's main interests go beyond the points of friction".

"We disagree on a number of things but at least we discussed them", Macron said.

On Syria, Mr Putin underlined the importance of securing the Syrian state, adding that it is essential for combating terrorism.

Macron is known to have been the least leaning toward Putin; his elections rival Marine Le Pen had actually called for a lifting of European Union and U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation due to the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea.

Less than 48 hours before the second round of French Presidential election on May 7, Macron found himself a victim of a "massive and coordinated hacking operation".

When his camp barred journalists from the two Russian outlets from Macron's headquarters a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman denounced the move as "outrageous. bare-faced discrimination".The Kremlin and RT itself have rejected allegations of meddling in the election. The site was sold to Russian Federation under former President Nicolas Sarkozy amid criticism from rights groups about France's outreach to Putin.

It remains to be seen, however, if the new French president manages to build a constructive relationship with the Russian leader, as over the course of his campaign, Macron pledged to deal firmly with Moscow.

  • Joanne Flowers