Russian President Vladimir Putin has described his meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as “difficult” but “frank.” After the Monday meeting in Versailles, Putin and Macron vowed to improve bilateral relations and cooperate towards dealing with international problems, especially Syria and Ukraine.
“We sought … common ground [in dealing] with key issues of the international agenda. And I believe that we see it. We are able to … at least try to start resolving the key contemporary problems together,” Putin said.
Putin noted that despite having several differences, they had similar approaches to many issues. He added that the recent meeting had helped both leaders pair common interests, a move which has “qualitatively” improved France-Russia ties.
Putin also said that he had outlined Moscow’s position on Syria for the French president while stressing that terrorism cannot be defeated by undoing a nation’s statehood. “It is impossible to fight a terrorist threat by dismantling the statehood of those countries that already suffer from some internal problems and conflicts,” he said. He also invited Macron to come and visit Russia. “I hope that he will be able to spend several weeks in Moscow,” he said.
In his turn, Macron stressed that Russia had an important role in solving problems around the world. “No major problem in the world can be solved without Russia.” He added that his country is interested in boosting cooperation with Moscow, especially towards ending the conflict in Syria. Macron noted that a solution for such a problem could only be a political one.
Macron also stressed that destroying the Daesh terrorist group is an “absolute priority” for France that is one of the reasons for its inclination to increase cooperation with Russia. Putin’s visit comes at the official invitation of the new French president, something that has been met with ire in France, especially given Macron’s harsh rhetoric on Russia before he took office earlier this month.