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French Presidential Candidates Favor Franco-Russian Dialogue Despite Differences

© REUTERS / Patrick Kovarik/PoolCandidates for the 2017 presidential election (LtoR) Francois Fillon, former French Prime Minister, member of the Republicans and candidate of the French centre-right, Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, Jean-Luc Melenchon of the French far left Parti de Gauche, Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and Benoit Hamon of the French Socialist party (PS) pose before a debate organised by French private TV channel TF1 in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, France, March 20, 2017.
Candidates for the 2017 presidential election (LtoR) Francois Fillon, former French Prime Minister, member of the Republicans and candidate of the French centre-right, Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, Jean-Luc Melenchon of the French far left Parti de Gauche, Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and Benoit Hamon of the French Socialist party (PS) pose before a debate organised by French private TV channel TF1 in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, France, March 20, 2017. - Sputnik International
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The Franco-Russian Dialogue Association held a meeting on Tuesday, attended by several French presidential candidates or their representatives, which demonstrated that while the candidates may have certain disagreements with Moscow, they are interested in dialogue.

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.

SEEKING DIALOGUE

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.

Vladimir Putin and Francois Fillon at joint news conference, Moscow (file) - Sputnik International
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Fillon’s spokesperson said that Paris and Moscow must work together to fight terrorism, to develop policy on Iranian nuclear program, to stop NATO enlargement.

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."

Police officers cordon off the territory near the U.K. Parliament in London where an assailant attacked a police officer and pedestrians - Sputnik International
Le Pen Calls for Sharing Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Between France, Russia
The idea of lifting sanctions was also echoed by Jacques Cheminade, the candidate from Solidarite et Progres (Solidarity and Progress) party, who attended the meeting, He said that lifting the sanctions off Russia could help revive France's struggling agricultural sector, according to Dhuicq.

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.

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