MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Independent Emmanuel Macron turned down the invitation, Nicolas Dhuicq, a French lawmaker who attended the meeting, told Sputnik. Macron said earlier this month that he would not be in favor of a rapprochement with Russia.
The Republicans party's candidate Francois Fillon was represented by Axel Poniatowski, who praised Russia's diplomatic successes in Syria.
"We need Russia to defeat terrorism," Poniatowski said.
He also noted that Fillon knows Russian President Vladimir Putin personally and is aware that the Russian president likes establishing a personal relationship during negotiations.
Poniatowski also emphasized that Fillon believed that the European Union's sanctions on Russia impoverishing French farmers were pointless and should be lifted.
Dhuicq told Sputnik that National Front (FN) party leader Marine Le Pen, a supporter of closer ties with Russia, was represented by David Rachline. According to Dhuicq, Rachline was promoting the FN anti-globalism stance, stating the preference for a multipolar equitable world order.
According to Dhuicq, Rachline added that Russia and France had common interests in multiple areas, including the fight against international terrorism, which was raised by Le Pen during her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier in March.
MOVEMENT TO LIFT SANCTIONS
Far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of left-wing political movement La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France), sent to the meeting his representative Djordje Kuzmanovic.
"Jean-Luc Melenchon wants to build relations of cooperation on science, culture and peace with Russia, whoever is its leader," Kuzmanovic said on his Twitter.
Melenchon's representative also said that the sanctions against Russia had to be lifted to "stop exerting pressure over French producers of milk and fruit."
The relationship between Russia and the European Union tensed following the 2014 referendum in which the residents of the Crimean Peninsula voted for the reunification with Russia. The move was not recognized by Ukraine and the European Union, with the bloc imposing sanctions on Russia.