Published: Tue, August 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

No 'yellow vests' please: Putin tells off Macron

No 'yellow vests' please: Putin tells off Macron

Macron expressed "deep concern" over the military offensive led by the Syrian regime, backed by Moscow, in the region of Idlib, a rebel-controlled area in the northwest of the country. "It's vital that the ceasefire agreed in Sochi is put into practice", Macron told Putin.

Macron invited Putin to his summer residence, the Fort de Bregancon on the French Riviera, for a meeting followed by dinner, just a few days before opening a meeting of the Group of Seven nations in the city of Biarritz with U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders.

Despite the talks focussing on worldwide crises, Macron sought to tackle Putin on the internal Russian situation.

"We called this summer for freedom of protest, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and the freedom to run in elections, which should be fully respected in Russian Federation like for any member of the Council of Europe", he said.

Kremlin foreign-policy aide Yury Ushakov said that the dialogue between Moscow and Paris had "intensified" in recent months and that Putin's visit to France was the "logical continuation" of his contacts with Macron.

Macron said he will also discuss with Putin ways to deescalate tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear program, the Syria conflict, and arms-control issues.

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Since mid-July, Moscow has seen a wave of rallies drawing tens of thousands onto the streets after opposition figures were barred from standing in September's local elections.

"We wouldn't want such events to take place in the Russian capital and will do all we can to ensure our domestic political situation evolved strictly in the framework of the law".

But he then reeled off a list of casualty tolls and said that according to "our count", 11 people were killed in the French protests and 2,500 injured.

The French leader said he hoped talks with Putin would lead to a leaders' summit on the crisis in Ukraine over the coming weeks. "There are some things that can be discussed here, that inspire such cautious optimism", Putin told journalists.

Macron responded that in France, people could "express themselves freely and demonstrate freely. but they cannot disturb public order". The format involves France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russian Federation.

Russian Federation was slung out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, an annexation unrecognised by the worldwide community.

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