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    France Recognizes Russia's New Role in International Relations - Macron (VIDEO)

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    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Paris recognizes Russia's 'Role of Strong Leader' in International Relations, including in the Middle East.

    French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that Paris and Moscow should work together to ensure collective security.

    "I believe that we should work together on the principle of collective security, that we must protect our values, and protect the sovereignty of our people," Macron told a press conference after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a new mechanism on information exchange to fight cybercrimes.

    "We talked about activities and risks in the cybersphere, about cyberattacks. We have agreed to create a new mechanism, a tool for information exchange and for the work on specific situations. [We have agreed] to carry out actions that would help us develop common rules of conduct in cyberspace," Macron told a press conference after talks with Putin.

    In turn, Vladimir Putin commented on claims of Russia's alleged involvement in cyberwarfare. Russian President said that It is necessary to agree on the common rules of special behavior in the cyberspace.

    "I can tell you about cyberattacks and about media swordplay: an action always meets a counteraction. In order not to have a counteraction that someone does not like, it is needed to agree on the rules of these actions, on the rules of behavior in certain areas," Putin told a press conference after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

    "Today, we discussed this with Mr President [Macron], and agreed that we will try and make the necessary efforts to follow this path," Putin added.

    Russia's 'Role of Strong Leader' in International Relations

    "I also recognize the very role that Russia has now built for itself both in its immediate environment and in some other regions of the world, for example, in the Middle East. This newly acquired role of a strong leader imposes a new responsibility. And I am well aware of Russia's irreplaceable role in some international issues," Macron said.

    While speaking on the Syrian issue, Macron pointed out that all regional powers have to be involved in talks on Syrian conflict settlement. He also pledged to allocate $50 million in humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country.

    In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that both Moscow and Paris welcomed Syrian authorities’ decision to send their delegation to the UN-led Constitutional Committee.

    "We consider the formation and launch of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva as our priority. We have welcomed Damascus’s decision to send its representatives to this entity," Putin stated at a press briefing following his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

    Moreover, two leaders agreed to continue promoting political settlement in Syria, particularly taking into account the Congress of the Syrian national dialogue recommendations.

    "Russia will continue working with the Syrian government and opposition in the framework of the Astana process. This format of negotiations has proved its effectiveness and gives a significant result. We are ready for contacts with a so-called small group. Of course, we proceed from adherence to the principle of respect for [state’s] sovereignty," Putin added.

    In turn, French President said that he shared the view that there was a need for a settlement through drafting the constitution and subsequent holding of the elections.

    "We need to come to an agreement with the representatives of the current regime, also taking into account the rebel forces … all the democratic forces of the opposition, as well as to conduct dialogue with all the regional powers, which are also interested in stability," Macron said at a press conference.

    Normandy Format to Settle Conflict in Donbass

    Russia is ready to continue work on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine's eastern region of Donbass in the Normandy Four (France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine) format and welcomes dialogue at all levels, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

    "There is no other instrument than the Minsk talks and the Normandy format. Russia is ready to support it, and we are ready to meet at all levels," Putin stated at a press briefing.

    He also stressed that the settlement of the conflict in Donbass was slow, while Kiev was not willing to resolve the issue.

    "As far as the situation in Donbass is concerned, the [settlement] process is indeed very slow, and we see, I am deeply convinced, that the current Kiev authorities are unwilling to settle [the conflict]. There is a new internal political situation related to the preparation for presidential and parliamentary elections," Putin added.

    Iran Nuclear Deal Must Be Preserved

    Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the Iranian nuclear deal should be preserved as Tehran abides by all of its commitments.

    "As for Iran, Russia's position is well known: we believe that the JCPOA deal should be preserved… I met with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Director General [Yukiya Amano], he confirmed in a personal conversation that Iran is fulfilling all of its obligations," Putin told journalists.

    "The consequences, in my opinion, can be very disastrous, but we welcome the attitude not only of France, but also of the entire Europe, aimed at preserving this deal, we understand that it will not be easy to do," Putin said.

    In turn, French President vowed to hold talks with Iran and Israeli in the coming weeks in order to prevent deterioration of the situation in the Middle East.

    "[France has] already commenced talks with [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani on [Iran’s nuclear program after 2025]. Of course, this dialogue will be viable and possible, if we adhere to the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] agreements adopted in 2015. We are going to do so, and we will hold discussions, dialogue with our Iranian and Israeli partners," Macron said at a briefing.

    Moreover, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hope that a broader framework agreement on the Iran nuclear program could be achieved, by supplementing the existing deal with three additional agreements which would cover the future of Tehran’s nuclear activities after 2025, its ballistic missile program and activities in the Middle East.

    "We are ready to continue talks with Tehran on additional issues, and we both agree that, first of all, it is vital to preserve the effectiveness of the 2015 [deal] framework in order to proceed with this work … I hope that we will follow the path of a dialogue, which will enable us to come to a certain broader framework agreement. The ultimately goal, as I see it, is the 2015 accord which will be supplemented by three framework strategic agreements," Macron said.

    Macron also recalled that he had been long proposing discussing the future of the Iran nuclear activities after 2025, Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its activities in the Middle East.

    The president stressed that Paris wanted to supplement the nuclear deal with new agreements, rather than expanding the existing one.

    "I only want to specify that I did not propose expanding, but supplementing the existing 2015 deal. I have never questioned the July 14, 2015 agreement, it is a good agreement, and, hence, it is vital to preserve it," Macron added.

    He stressed the need to "win trust" of Iran in order to go ahead with such work, which is only possible if the signatories remain committed to the deal, according to the president.

    Moreover, Emanuel Macron said that French companies should maintain their presence in Iran, despite US sanctions.

    "In order for our enterprises to find pragmatic solutions together with their partners, they must do everything in order to maintain their positions, preserve their economic benefits, and maintain their economic activities and their presence in Iran despite US sanctions," Macron told reporters after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    On the other hand, Iran must adhere to its obligations, he added.

    Paris may provide for compensation mechanisms for its companies that will suffer from US sanctions against Iran, the French president noted.

    "Our enterprises continue to operate within the framework of French law, therefore they are protected primarily by the treaties signed by France. Perhaps, we will provide some mechanisms for compensation [of losses incurred by US anti-Iranian sanctions]," Macron said.

    Peace Process on Korean Peninsula Must Continue

    As for the cancellation of summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, Putin expressed his regret over Trump's decision to refuse to meet Kim but suggested that the summit could take place nonetheless.

    "Regarding the cancellation of the meeting between US and North Korean leaders, we personally — Russia — met this news with regret, because we all hoped that a significant step would be taken to de-escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and that this would be the beginning of the process of denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula," Putin said.

    In turn, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Despite the cancellation of the US-North Korea summit, the peace process to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula should continue. According to Macron, France is also ready to support this process.

    "The process that has already been launched, aimed at reducing tensions on the [Korean] Peninsula, as well as the process of denuclearization and disarmament of the entire peninsula — this process should continue,"

    Meanwhile, Russia hopes the US-North Korean summit will ultimately take place as no significant progress on the Korean crisis settlement may be achieved without this meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

    "We hope the dialogue will resume, continue, and the meeting will take place. Without this meeting we can barely hope for a significant progress in … the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Putin said at a press briefing.

    The Russian president has added that Moscow and Paris would work together to bring closer US-North Korean positions.

    "We will work together on bringing closer the positions of the United States and North Korea. In these circumstances, it would be right to return to previous mechanisms, which in general have proved themselves to be efficient for achieving progress on the matter," Putin said.

    The Russian president has also said that Kim had fulfilled his promises prior to the canceled summit.

    "For his part, Kim Jong-un has done everything he had promised to do. He has even blown up tunnels and mines at [North Korea’s Punggye-Ri nuclear test] site. And following this, the United States has canceled the meeting," Putin added.

    Russia Should Have Access to MH17 Investigation

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow was not allowed to join the investigation into the crash of the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, and can recognize the results of the probe if it takes full participation in it.

    "But I can tell you at once, without even getting acquainted with what is there. Our attitude to the matter is this: we originally proposed joint work to investigate this tragedy, but, to our surprise, we were not allowed to join this investigation, despite the fact that Ukraine violated international rules and did not close the airspace over the territory where the hostilities took place, but it takes part, and Russia does not. Therefore, we do not know what is written there, and on what basis, so that we recognize what is stated there, we should take full part in the investigation," Putin said.

    In any case, Moscow will treat the commission's conclusions attentively, with respect, and analyze everything that is outlined there, and then will formulate its own attitude to this matter, Putin added.

    In turn, French President welcomed Russia’s readiness to cooperate in the international investigation of the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

    "[Russian President Vladimir Putin] has said that Russia was willing to cooperate on the matter … I am glad that, as the Russian president has just said, he has decided to cooperate with the investigation. This is an important phase. A long and important investigation work is ahead," Macron told a press briefing following the meeting with Putin, noting that the JIT conclusion was "objective."


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