Tue, 14 Jul 2020

France's Macron to Travel to Russia Soon

Voice of America
28 Jun 2020, 06:05 GMT+10

PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that he would soon hold more "trust-building" talks in Russia with counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Macron tweeted he would "travel soon to Russia" to discuss European security, regional conflicts and climate change, "including the melting of permafrost in the Arctic."

The French president has urged European countries to reevaluate their strategic relationships with the Kremlin, arguing that their defiant approach toward Russia has been unsuccessful and that the country is crucial to Europe's security.

Macron's announcement that he would meet with Putin came one day after the two leaders held a video call.

Putin said Friday that he and Macron had promised to cooperate more closely to resolve global crises such as those in Ukraine, Syria and Libya, as well as tensions in the Balkans.

The Russian president said the two had discussed the need to "combine our efforts" to confront common threats such as the coronavirus pandemic and international terrorism.

Macron said after the call that "all regional crises we've experienced shows the importance of making the European space, in a broad sense, ... a real space of cooperation and peace."

Relations between Moscow and the Western world have reached post-Cold War lows after Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, its role in Syria's conflict and its 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

Macron has, nevertheless, urged Europe and NATO to reexamine their strategic relationships with Moscow, to the consternation of some of their Western allies.

RFE/RL contributed to this report.

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