Chemical weapons a red line in Syria, says Macron

Putin set to visit France in hope of mending strained ties

Putin set to visit France in hope of mending strained ties

The Russian defence ministry said Syria's military has said it is ready to halt fire around the site if experts are sent in to conduct a probe.

Following a "small and victorious" Second Chechen War, Putin won the presidential election in 2000 and began reshaping the country he inherited.

Outside the Versailles Palace, reporters waited eagerly for a potentially tense Franco-Russian handshake.

Putin said that the two nations want to cooperate in resolving the crises, including in Ukraine. "Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes not".

Macron called the Russian state-backed outlets RT and Sputnik "agents of influence" that published lies about him during his campaign.

Moscow strongly denied all allegations of election meddling, and Putin on Monday again poo-pooed the idea as unfounded press speculation. Putin had supported Macron's opponent, Marine Le Pen, and received the nationalist at the Kremlin during her campaign.

On Monday, he defended that gesture as simple good manners, saying it would have been unusual to rebuff Le Pen's Russia-friendly overtures.

He said it would be odd if Russian Federation rebuffed overtures from European politicians who want to strengthen relations, but added that the meeting did not represent an attempt to sway the race.

He says the meeting with Le Pen didn't represent an attempt to sway the race.

"No essential topic can be addressed without dialogue with Russia", Macron said.

Pascal Boniface, the head of the Institute for worldwide and Strategic Relations, says the exhibit at Versailles offered the new French president a chance to reengage with the longtime Russian leader.

Macron agreed, adding, "we disagree on a number of things but at least we discussed them". To carry out this cold-blooded policy, the European Union also cut back on patrols and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, allowing thousands of refugees to drown in the hope that this would terrorize refugees still in the Middle East into staying where they were.

After talks with Putin at the Palace of Versailles that ran far longer than planned on Monday, Macron said the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line" for France. Western sanctions, imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, have been ratcheted up since pro-Russian rebels carved out a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine.

He said France would remain "vigilant" on the issue.

Talk about making a statement.

France would respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday while urging a stepped-up "partnership" with Moscow in fighting the Daesh terror group in the country.

The martial paintings on its walls are spectacular and breathtaking.

"I reminded him of the importance for France of the respect of all peoples and all minorities, all sensibilities in civil society", Macron said of Putin.

The venue for the exhibit and Putin's visit was the sumptuous Palace of Versailles, west of Paris. "Our relations must be normalized".

He regretted that none of the G-7 states are party to Syria peace talks under way in the Kazakh capital Astana initiated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. That's the first time a French president has done that, says Sacha Koulaeva with the International Federation of Human Rights. The site was sold to Russian Federation under former President Nicolas Sarkozy amid criticism from rights groups about France's outreach to Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in France for talks with newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron showed himself firm on other issues, too. Putin replied when asked about those suspicions on Monday at a joint news conference in Versailles.

He also said he would remain "vigilant" on the rights of gay and transgender people in Chechnya, and the treatment of non-governmental organizations in Russian Federation.

On Ukraine, Macron said that he and Putin meant to organize "with the briefest possible delay" a meeting with Berlin and Kiev to arrange a "de-escalation of the conflict". They held a banner "Stop homophobia in Chechnya" at a square in front of the Eiffel Tower.

"Many things in the future will depend on the first meeting", Orlov told Europe 1 radio.

Because of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, former President Francois Hollande refused to meet with Putin past year.

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