Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, disagreements for cooperation

France would respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday while urging a stepped-up "partnership" with Moscow in fighting the Islamic State group in the country.

The 39-year-old French leader and Mr Putin exchanged a cordial, businesslike handshake and smiles when the latter stepped from his limousine, with Mr Macron appearing to say "welcome" to him in French.

Macron took a swipe at Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, calling them "organs of influence and propaganda". "We are convinced that he did not do it", Putin said in a Tuesday interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that France will respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria, while urging a closer partnership with Russian Federation in fighting the Islamic State (IS) in the country.

The two leaders emerged from their first meeting - discussions at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles that lasted more than an hour longer than planned - clearly still at odds on multiple issues, but also seemingly keen not to let their differences define their fledgling relationship.

Versailles was chosen for the Macron-Putin meeting because an exhibition dedicated to Tsar Peter the Great is opening there.

The talks were intense at times, but Putin said Franco-Russian ties withstood "all points of friction" during the meeting.

"No essential topic can be addressed without dialogue with Russia", Macron said.

Vladimir Putin has vowed to investigate "the whole truth" about Chechnya's gay concentration camps, according to France's president.

Asked if sanctions against Russian Federation were helping to stop the fighting in eastern Ukraine, Putin said, "Here is the answer: in no way".

Moscow strongly denied all allegations of meddling in the French election that Macron won on May 7.

Macron and Putin agreed that they needed a new round of talks on the violence in eastern Ukraine.

"We have disagreements, but at least we talked about them".

France's authorities are taking steps to implement the agreements brokered between French and Russian Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin during their talks in Versailles on Monday, French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexandre Giorgini said.

The Kremlin hailed the visit as a chance for Putin and Macron to get to know each other and better understand their views on a range of disputed issues, including the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and Russia's ties with the European Union.

"We hear Mr Putin say that there are no crimes against homosexuals, which is totally false", he said.

He said the global community should "establish a joint policy" to address the use of chemical weapons by "anyone, any force. and make a response that would render the use of chemical weapons simply impossible". Hollande also cancelled an order for two warships France was building for Russian Federation.

Macron stressed out that France saw a "red line" in Syria in terms of the use of chemical weapons. They held a banner "Stop homophobia in Chechnya" at a square in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russian Federation were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks.

  • Zachary Reyes