Published: Fri, June 02, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Putin certain Assad not using gas in war


In a joint news conference after the talks, the leaders said there were opportunities for their countries to work together more closely.

Macron's invitation for Putin was a surprise after his tough stance on Russian Federation during the French election.

Macron on May 7 defeated Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in the second round of France's presidential election.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that France will respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria, while urging a closer partnership with Russian Federation in fighting the Islamic State (IS) in the country.

Despite this clearly awkward exchange, the choice of location-Versailles-indicated that Macron wanted to welcome a friendly relationship with Russian Federation, as he led him around an exhibition that is celebrating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great's visit to France and the rich history of these two nations.

The two leaders held a joint press conference on Monday after a meeting at the lavish Palace of Versailles, now the host of an exhibition commemorating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great's diplomatic visit to Paris and surrounding areas, France24 reported.

Monday's meeting - during which Macron and Putin were also scheduled to tour an exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of Russian Czar Peter the Great's trip to Paris - was scheduled to discuss weighty topics, including the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

UK police in bomb probe cordon off area in Manchester
Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: "This is potentially a significant development in the investigation". Isaac and Abz Forjani, who were arrested and released without charge, expressed shock at Abedi's actions.

"Maybe they were Russian hackers, maybe they were not", he said, dismissing the claims as unsubstantiated.

It is President Macron's latest diplomatic test after the G7 talks in Sicily and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he turned the tables on US President Donald Trump by holding him in a clenched handshakeuntil their knuckles went white.

The meeting, which took place in Versailles on Monday afternoon, started off with a handshake that was praised for being "unremarkable".

Macron said he spoke to Putin about LGBT rights in Chechnya and about the rights of embattled NGOs in Russian Federation, vowing he would be "constantly vigilant" on these issues. "It was a frank exchange, extremely direct ..."

"On the contrary, I expect that these de-escalation zones, if peace is established, and the people who will be controlling them, will cooperate with the official Syrian authorities", he said.

Putin warned against the de-escalation zones turning into a model threatening Syria's territorial integrity.

But he also reiterated Russia's view that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces weren't responsible for a fatal chemical attack in Syria in April.

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