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    President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of France Emmanuel Macron, second, left, during Russia-France Business Dialogue held as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Left: President of the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) Pierre Gattaz.

    Macron Calls On Putin to Be Flexible in Int'l Affairs 'Like in Judo' (VIDEO)

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    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 (64)
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, are addressing participants of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    'Sanctions Can Lead to Unprecedented Crises'

    Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out the distrust in the international arena that casts doubt on the possibility of global economic growth.

    He went on to say that the actions of several countries may lead to "a systemic crisis the likes of which the world has not seen before," adding that there appeared new forms of protectionism in trade policy, which, under far-fetched pretexts, cite national security interests as a reason to suppress rivals or "extort" concessions.

    READ MORE: EU Unwilling to Follow US Calls for More Sanctions on Russia

    Putin further urged the United States and other countries to move together towards sustainable development.

    "Russia calls for free trade and economic integration, for constructive partner-like dialogue, and calls on our partners from Europe, from America, from Asia, other regions of the world to move together towards the goals of sustainable development, to work out a model of growth which would give the most appropriate response to modern challenges," he stressed.

    In the meantime Putin noted that Russia was determined to efficiently integrate into global infrastructure by developing its own transport, digital and energy capabilities.

    "The key principle of our development is the openness of the country, its focus on active participation in global processes and integration projects. This requires the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects. It is an important part of our national agenda. We are determined to develop Russia’s transport, energy and digital capabilities to effectively integrate them into the global infrastructure," he said.

    'Europe Should Strive for Financial Sovereignty'

    The Russian president's speech was followed by an address of his French counterpart, in which he noted that it was necessary to achieve financial independence in Europe, as well as to boost cross-investments.

    "We must work to boost cross-investments and to achieve financial independence of Europe. It is necessary, if we want to reach our strategic goals, to achieve individual and autonomous financing of these projects and strategies. It is necessary to separate some spheres from geopolitical ones, from politicization," Macron pointed out.

    The French president also stressed that he worked with European partners on the matter and that the sides had already achieved remarkable success and intended to continue working on this issue.

    READ MORE: Russia Ready to Use Euros in Trade If EU Opposes Expansion of Sanctions

    Macron in his speech also called on Putin to be flexible in international relations "like in judo," referring to the Russian president's excellent skills in martial arts.

    "Russia is now preparing for the [FIFA] World Cup, which will take place in a few days. Mr. President, dear Vladimir, we know that you adore judo," Macron said. "We know that you also know, appreciate the flexibility that rests on the control of your own strength, qualities such as will of character and respectful attitude to the opponent. Let us act on the international arena while being guided by this," he added.

    France's president added that he would like Russia to remain in the Council of Europe. He said Russia would succeed in achieving its goals for social and economic development within the framework of a partnership with the EU, and stated that France and Russia are working on a road map to continue cooperation effectively.

    Speaking on the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), Macron said that he believed that Trump withdrew from the agreement with Tehran because it was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

    The French president also spoke on the US decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which Macron characterized as “not very correct,” adding that France regretted it.

    “We need to hold talks, it is necessary for there to be two countries, for each of them to have a capital, for their borders to be recognized and for them to live in peace. Therefore I think that the decision to move the embassy was not very correct or desirable. We regret this,” he said.

    'Pacific Islands Can Become Symbol of Cooperation Between Tokyo and Moscow'

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed hope that the disputed Kuril islands might turn from a symbol of contradiction into asymbol of cooperation between Russia and Japan.

    READ MORE: Japan Protests Russia's Military Flight Exercise Over Kuril Islands

    Speaking at the SPIEF, Abe suggested that the public imagined a world after Russia and Japan establish “constant stability” in their relations.

    “And the islands which were once a reason for confrontation, they will then turn into a symbol of cooperation between our countries. They will open new opportunities as a logistical site. I think that the Sea of Japan will become a logistical highway,” the prime minister said.

    Touching upon the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Abe stressed that North Korea had to continue to implement UN Security Council resolutions after the cancellation of a US-North Korea summit.

    "It has become known now that the meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea will not be held. It is important in this context whether North Korea will implement those resolutions of the UN Security Council, carry out denuclearization in a full, verified and irreversible manner," he said.

    Abe also noted that he would like to see Japan play against Russia in the final of this summer's FIFA World Cup.

    "This year the Japan national soccer team Samurai Blue [a nickname of Japan's football team] will come to Russia, their eyes set on winning the FIFA World Cup. The Samurai Blue will fight their way through to the finals to find themselves head to head against Russia in the final match. … That is my dream, peculiarly optimistic, I admit," he said.

    The Japanese national football team has twice reached the round of 16 at the World Cup, in 2002 and 2010, while Russia has never made it past the group stage.

    IMF's Lagarde Forecasts Global Economy to Grow 3.9% in 2018, 2019

    The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, warned global economies on Friday against protectionism and unilateralism, as “nobody wins the trade war.”

    “It would be a grave mistake to resort to protectionism and unilateralism, this could be a self-inflicted wound. Let us not forget that trade needs a higher productivity, lower prices and improved living standards and that nobody, nobody wins the trade war,” she noted.

    READ MORE: China’s Defense Budget Increase Consistent With Economic Growth Rate — Analysts

    The IMF head also forecast that the global economy would grow 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019, adding that the "sun is shining" on the world economy.

    "The good news today is that the sun is shining today on the global economy, we went through a decade of difficult times and now we have an economy that’s doing well. 3.8% last year, probably 3.9% this year and 3.9% next year," she said.

    Follow our feed to find out more

    The SPIEF, held annually in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg, is a major global platform for communication between business representatives and the discussion of crucial economic issues. The event began on Thursday and will continue through Saturday.

    Sputnik, a multimedia international news and information agency, is the official media partner of the forum.

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    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 (64)

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    crisis, economy, SPIEF-2018, Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Shinzo Abe, Russia, Saint Petersburg
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