This is the first meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, in Versailles. The French president spoke of exchanges “extremely frank and direct.”
At a painting of an uplifting portrait of Czar Peter the Great, citing St. Petersburg, citing Russian writers and the creation of a Franco-Russian forum of civil society, paying tribute to the struggle for freedom led by Russian soldiers in the twentieth century, Emmanuel Macron wanted to touch the heartstrings with Vladimir Poutine . In return, the Russian president stressed that “French interests and Russian exceed the friction points” and invited his guest to come and spend time in Russia like Peter the Great did in France there three centuries ago.
The predecessors of Emmanuel Macron had to keep saying that we must speak to Russia, a key player on the international stage. By receiving Vladimir Poutine at Versailles, the French president has looked the part, the better to say things. Leaves to be as harsh, see this time more rough, his guest, yet famous for heated exchanges. Syria, terrorism, Ukraine Russian interference, homosexuals in Chechnya: Here you need to remember the press conference Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Poutine.
The Syrian issue:
First major theme, the Syrian issue. Emmanuel Macron has raised a red line set by France in an unprecedented way. In case of use of chemical weapons by either of the protagonists on the Syrian theater (the French president was careful not to refer to possible perpetrators, the regime or antagonistic groups) will trigger Paris immediate response. The commitment is serious. Unpublished. We remember the famous red lines that Barack Obama had announced on the same subject, without enforcing them in summer 2013.
The fight against terrorism:
This is the speech held for three years by Moscow to justify its intervention in Syria, even if the field’s real objectives have first appeared to be support for the Assad regime and the return of Russian influence in the region.
Now, French President followed suit on this. This is not an absolute novelty, France being already engaged in the international coalition led by the Americans, to fight against Daech. But the tone by Emmanuel Macron, the announcement of greater cooperation and exchange of information, goes in the direction of a common commitment and a strengthening of the partnership, outlined there is a half and half. In his shorter intervention, Putin essentially insisted that axis.
The Ukrainian case:
Putin and Macron have officially recorded maintaining the format, bringing together the Ukrainians, Russians, Germans and the French. It was a Russian request. It is in the interest of French. President Macron announced that he would quickly inform the German Chancellor. A summit will be convened as soon as possible to help “de-escalate” the Ulkraine situation. Calling Vladimir Putin in the end press conference, the lifting of economic sanctions that paralyze Russia, he said, political action, shows a move in the right direction.
Homosexuals in Chechnya:
Just as on violations of human rights in Chechnya against homosexuals or anti-homosexual activity in Russia. The French President has publicly confirmed that he had discussed these issues during the meeting and that the Russian government was busy. We will not know more than this.