Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin hold 'frank' talks on Syria, Ukraine

Macron's government says it backs United Nations -mediated peace talks in Geneva.

But Macron did show more than a little interest in the topic, especially when asked by a Russian journalist why it had been so hard for certain reporters to get access to his campaign headquarters during the election.

Macron had invited the Russian leader to France to reset a relationship that has turned increasingly sour. He said he wanted to work with Putin to that end.

Macron met Trump for the first time Thursday in Brussels, Belgium at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation G7 summit, and the two leaders exchanged a visibly tense handshake. Macron also said he would support new sanctions against Russian Federation if there is escalation in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"Donald Trump, the President of Turkey or the President of Russian Federation are of a mindset of power relations, which doesn't bother me", Macron said.

France has also taken a tough line on European Union sanctions on Russian Federation, first imposed when it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and cancelled a $1.3 billion warship supply contract in 2015.

Macron showed Putin around the royal chateau and an exhibition commemorating Russian czar Peter the Great, who visited France in 1717.

Putin says it would be unusual if Russian Federation rebuffed overtures from European politicians who want to strengthen relations. Their first handshakes - relatively brief and cordial - were far less macho than Macron's now-famous who-will-blink-first handshake showdown with Trump when the two leaders met last week for the first time.

Calling for "a democratic transition that preserves the Syrian state", he warned that "failed states" in the Middle East emboldened terror groups and posed a threat to the West.

On human rights, Macron said he had raised the troubles facing gay and transgender people in Chechnya and those of nongovernmental organizations.

Macron also agreed to the same, adding, "we disagree on a number of things but at least we discussed them".

Deumier announced the arrival of the refugee from Chechnya, where gay men have allegedly been tortured and their families told to kill them, on the same day Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Paris to hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

'I emphasized to President Putin...how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities, ' Macron said.

Putin later visited a new Orthodox cathedral complex in central Paris.

Newly inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron drew worldwide headlines when his knuckles turned white during an intense handshake with President Donald Trump at the G-7 meeting - an encounter he later called a "moment of truth".

Macron was the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the Group of Seven summit over the weekend, where relations with Russian Federation were a key topic.

Macron, an independent centrist, decisively defeated Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate from the National Front party on May 7.

Putin, seemingly unfazed, pushed back any suggestion that Russian Federation sought to influence the election. It was also a chance for Macron to show France and the rest of Europe what kinds of issues will matter to him in worldwide relations.

Putin, though, said on Monday that his meeting with Le Pen did not mean he was trying to influence the outcome of election.

  • Leroy Wright


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