The center-right lawmaker said France and Russia had a common enemy, which is the Islamic State (Daesh) terrorist group, outlawed in both countries, and accused the incumbent Socialist government of being deadlocked on the Middle East and Russia.
"Unfortunately, current French policy in the Middle East and toward Russia is in a deadlock position. I advocate for lifting anti-Russia sanctions that are counterproductive and finding a solution in Syria that is why I have travelled twice to Crimea and to Damascus to meet with Bashar Assad," he concluded.
France will elect a successor to President Francois Hollande next spring. Hollande is eligible to run, although opinion polls suggest his chances of winning are slim. In 2014, his administration joined EU-wide sanctions against Russia over its reunification with Crimea and announced a military operation against Daesh in Syria in November of that year.