The master of the Kremlin is expected at Fort Brégançon by the French president. Libya, Iran, Syria and Ukraine will be the main crises on the agenda of this meeting.
Emmanuel Macron receives Monday 19th August 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin in the south of France to sweep the major diplomatic issues ahead of the G7 summit next weekend.
The master of the Kremlin is expected at Fort Brégançon, the residence of the French president in August, around 16H00. After statements to the press, the two leaders, who last saw each other at the Osaka G20 in late June, will discuss the various crises that are shaking the world.
With this meeting, Emmanuel Macron is trying to tie Vladimir Putin into multilateralism and the debates that will animate the next G7 summit, a forum that has excluded Russia since 2014 and the annexation of Crimea.
The dialogue “is necessary with this big neighbour that is Russia,” according to a source of the French presidency, while Moscow, which has complicated relations with Western countries, is unavoidable in several hot international issues.
Libya, Iran, Syria and Ukraine will be the main crises on the menu of this “working visit”.
Treaty file of Ukraine
In Ukraine, the rise to power of President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen by Paris as an opportunity to move towards a settlement of the conflict around pro-Russian separatist provinces of Ukraine.
“The main topic will obviously be to revive the Minsk agreements” for peace in eastern Ukraine, said Alexander Baunov, an analyst at the Carnegie Center. “The main promise of the new Ukrainian president is to end the war. Vladimir Putin is ready for a revival (peace efforts) if a federal status is granted to Donbas. “There, there is a real chance of progress. Macron would be delighted to end the war in Donbas, to go down in history as Nicolas Sarkozy with Georgia, “adds the analyst.
“Very useful attempt”
This meeting “is a very useful attempt to get France out of Europe and if possible a stalemate” in its relations with Russia, said former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine, in an interview at Le Figaro on Saturday.
Since 2017, French and Russian have remained in regular contact, without Emmanuel Macron refraining from criticism. “Europe must dialogue with Russia”, which must “make efforts”, he had summarized in June.
“In recent months, contacts in the political field have intensified. Contacts in the cultural and humanitarian field are also very intense. In 2020, the “Russian Seasons +” will be held in almost all regions of France, “said a Kremlin advisor.
To eliminate a point of tension, the Russian justice has released the French banker Philippe Delpal, detained since February under the charge of fraud and now under house arrest. Emmanuel Macron had mentioned his case on several occasions with the Russian president.
On Syria as on Iran, Paris explains wanting to ask the Russian president “to use his influence” on his allies.
France considers “very worrying” the situation in the Syrian province of Idleb, where the regime is on the offensive with the Russian air force, “we have a very simple message to the Russians: + exercise your influence with Damascus so that this operation ceases, “says Paris, as Russia militarily participates in the regime’s attacks on the rebels, who also kill civilians, and that France fears both a mass exodus and the dispersal of dangerous jihadist groups.
“A new quadripartite summit (Russia-France-Germany-Turkey) may be mentioned” on this subject, says the Kremlin.
France is hoping for stronger support from Russia to save the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA). “As guarantors of the JCPOA, Paris and Moscow must be able to work together to de-escalate.” “If Russia reaffirms that Iran must respect its JCPOA obligations, it will greatly strengthen our position,” said a French diplomatic source.
Perhaps the president will also address mass arrests of demonstrators in Moscow demanding “fair elections”. At their first quality meeting at Versailles in 2017, Mr Macron did not hesitate to publicly criticize the arrests of homosexuals in Chechnya.