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Syria, Ukraine… Between Paris and Moscow, telephone diplomacy

President Macron's planned visit to St Petersburg can be seen as a response to the invitation to Versailles in May 2017 (credit: Elysée May 2017/Archives B2)

(B2 with AFP) Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine, the report said. Kremlin.

This interview aimed in particular to prepare for Emmanuel Macron's visit to Russia, where he is due to participate in the St. Petersburg Economic Forum (May 24-26) and participates in the French president's “all-out” diplomacy. Moreover, not only Syria was discussed but also Ukraine, as part of the “Normandy format” discussions.

Do everything to end the situation in Ghouta

Emmanuel Macron asked his Russian counterpart to “do everything to ensure that the Syrian regime puts an end to the unsustainable deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib” and expressed “his concern” on “the possible use of chlorine” against civilians. The French president “expressed concern over reports of the possible use of chlorine on several occasions against civilian populations in Syria in recent weeks“, specifies the Elysée in a communicated. He has "underlined that France's determination to fight against impunity in the use of chemical weapons was unwavering".

A necessity: strengthening coordination

The two presidents stressed “the importance of strengthening Russian-French coordination on the main aspects of the Syrian issue“, insists the Kremlin side. They shared their “interest in advancing inclusive inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva” taking into account the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which took place on January 30 in Sochi (Russia). They discussed the “possibilities of aid” for the reconstruction work in Syria, according to the same source.

The application of the Minsk agreements in question

The Russian and French presidents also discussed “the situation in Ukraine with emphasis on the need to fully implement” the Minsk peace agreements, aimed at putting an end to the conflict between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

A crisis that claims victims every week
As the anniversary of the Minsk agreements approaches (February 12), the question of their implementation still remains unclear. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had already raised this subject of Ukraine at the start of the week, Monday (February 5), with his Ukrainian counterpart, then with his Russian counterpart. “ This crisis claims victims every week and leads to difficult living conditions for the population. » we emphasize at the Quai d'Orsay.

A call on both parties to respect the agreements

France (like Germany) launched an appeal to both parties. To Russia, she asks it to “ implement the Minsk agreements, particularly in the security field ", to Ukraine " that it continues to implement the measures that concern it ". " Our objective remains the overall political resolution of the crisis, the improvement of the security situation – which implies full respect of the ceasefire – and the reestablishment of socio-economic links between the two sides of the line of contact “says the Quai.

(NGV with AFP)

NB: signed in February 2015 with the mediation of Paris, Berlin and Moscow (“Normandy format”), the Minsk agreements allowed a reduction in the intensity of the fighting without achieving a political settlement of the conflict. There have been more than 10.000 deaths since the outbreak of the conflict in April 2014.

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