Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Macron Tells Putin Ceasefire in Syria's Idlib Must be Respected

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron Mikhail Klimentyev Sputnik Kremlin Pool Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron
Patty Aguilar | 20 August, 2019, 18:56

Putin is hosted by his French counterpart Macron at the French presidential summer retreat residence in Bregancon, five days before the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Biarritz, a seaside town in southern France. On August 19, Putin met with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the G-7 Summit.

But they disagreed on other issues, including Syria and the Russian crackdown on opposition protests.

"Because I believe in a European Russia".

During Monday's meeting, the two heads of state vowed to improve Moscow's relations with the European Union and to relaunch peace talks with Ukraine.

At Bregancon Fort, Putin said that Russian Federation "would not refuse" working within the previous G8 format, adding, "Any contacts with our partners, in any format, are useful".

Macron said the situations weren't comparable - but that at least in France, protesters could run for elected office.

"The population in Idlib is living under bombs, children are being killed", Macron told Putin. "Of course, we will support it".

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After the bilateral meeting, Putin and Macron will be joined by their delegations at a dinner.

Kiev's forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since 2014, in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Macron has taken a keen interest in brokering an end to the conflict and forging any progress would be a major feather in his cap as a statesman.

"We need to keep up our pressure, our energy to resolve this problem", he added. "We don't rule anything out".

A source of tension could come from the domestic situation in Russian Federation, with France repeatedly rebuking Moscow over its crackdown on protesters who are angered by a refusal to register opposition candidates for elections later this year.

"I am a guest here and it's uncomfortable for me to talk about this", said Putin, before reeling off casualty tolls from the yellow vest protests. He said things were being handled in line with the law, but added that he did not want the situation to develop like in France.

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