Makron is sent to Russia to discuss a broad agenda
PARIS, may 24. /TASS/. The President of France Emmanuel macron will go on Thursday on a visit to Russia. He will visit Saint Petersburg to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and attend the St. Petersburg international economic forum (SPIEF).
This is the first trip of the Macron in Russia as head of the French Republic. He, however, visited Moscow in 2016, when he was Minister of economy and co-chair bilateral business Council for cooperation. During operation of the Macron in these positions, France has become a leader among foreign investors in the Russian economy. This position is at the head of the list of investment partners of Russia it retains to this day.
The third meeting
Commenting on the expectations of the French side from the upcoming negotiations, a source in the Elysee Palace told reporters that Paris is “looking forward to meaningful dialogue and relevant results at the upcoming meeting.” However, he stressed that “contacts between the leaders is valuable by themselves.”
As recalled by the source, Putin was the first foreign leader, the Makron was invited to France just two weeks later, after his accession to the presidency. “The forthcoming meeting of the presidents will be the third (including a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017 — approx. TASS), they also conduct regular exchange of views on the phone,” he said. Over the past year, held 11 such conversations.
Points of contact
According to a source at the Elysee Palace, Makron got an invitation to visit the Russian Federation last autumn and the French side “had since been preparing for the trip”. According to the French analysts, the importance of the visit to Paris was further increased in light of the development of the international situation in recent weeks — the US has announced the release of reached in 2015 multilateral agreements on the Iranian nuclear programme, while other members, including France and Russia, intend to keep this agreement.
Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian sees common ground in overcoming the Syrian crisis. Paris and Moscow are “identical positions in the struggle against terrorism,” he recalled. “It is necessary to use the channels of negotiations among all countries to address humanitarian and political issues,” said Le Drian. The urgency of such contacts, according to the foreign Minister of France, is dictated by the “escalation of tension in the region.”
The strategic dimension
The idea of cooperation with Moscow enjoys the support including outside the presidential majority. Well-known politician Dominique de Villepin, who led in the past decade, the MFA and the government considers that the visit should be “the beginning of strategic negotiations with the Russian Federation”.
“We need to respond to the expectations of Moscow, — the politician told the TV channel BFM. — It is necessary, in particular, to agree on the convening of a new large European conference on the security of the continent”. The last time such conference was held in 1975 in Helsinki.
According to de Villepin, the upcoming visit of Macron offers the opportunity to advance, including in the Ukrainian direction. Referring to the situation in Ukraine, the politician drew attention to the views expressed by Russia the idea of placing at the line of contact in Donbas, the security of the UN mission. “In turn, Ukraine must agree to neutrality and to recognize the autonomy of Donbass”, — says de Villepin.
What is happening in the world of destabilization, he said, requires a “group of four” composed of France, Germany, Russia and China. “We need to get rid of the excessive dependence of the Atlantic in our foreign policy,” says de Villepin.
Momentum is a non-political sphere
In France, expect to give impetus to the bilateral Franco-Russian contacts in the field of economy, science, culture and education. The French President will be accompanied by a large delegation of representatives of business circles.
As recalled at the Elysee Palace, during Putin’s visit to Versailles, the presidents agreed to establish a civil society forum “Trianon dialogue.” It is so named in honor of the Grand Trianon Palace, where the leaders opened the exhibition to the 300th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Public forum to consider a wide range of topics unrelated to politics. His first topic was “city of the future” — the plot, affecting not only economic aspects, but also the environment, and innovation. In the coordinating Council of the forum of French science, the business world, the arts unveil the first female astronaut of the country Claudie Haignere, CEO of Total Patrick Pouyanne, head of ballet of the Moscow academic Musical theatre of Laurent Hilaire.
The dialogue participants support the plans for in August to bilateral historical and archaeological expeditions to places of battles of the First world war in champagne, where they fought with Russian expeditionary force. It is already known that the expedition, which will be a tribute to the memory of Russian soldiers who died for the freedom of France, will be held under the guidance of the French historian and archaeologist Pierre Malinowski.
In the one-hundredth anniversary of the First world war the French President is planning to gather in November 2018 at a meeting in Paris of representatives of the involved countries. France and Russia were allies in the First and the Second world war.
And about football
It is possible that after a visit to Saint-Petersburg, the French leader may soon return to Russia in connection with the beginning of the June 14 world Cup 2018. Responding to a question about whether the head of France to attend the world championship, Le Drian said, “don’t know the schedule of Emmanuel Macron,” but knows that “he loves football”. The French President played a Central line for the national team the National school of administration while studying in this elite management Academy in Strasbourg.