The two presidents discussed in detail a broad range of international and bilateral issues. They expressed their common opinion on the need for Russia-France partnership in resolving topical international issues and a search for ways of parrying urgent global challenges, such as international terrorism, climate change and the growth of conflict potential in many regions of the world. The pooling of efforts in countering the coronavirus infection and overcoming its consequences remains a topical task.
Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron noted that as permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and France bear special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security in line with the UN Charter, which was signed on June 26, exactly 75 years ago. The Russian initiative to hold a meeting of the heads of state – permanent members of the UN Security Council is designed to play a big role in this context.
The two presidents analysed different aspects of strategic stability. They emphasised the importance of preserving the current mechanisms of arms control and enhancing predictability and trust in the military sphere. It was agreed to step up joint work on these issues in the two-plus-two format with the participation of foreign and defence ministers.
Following on from the agreements reached at the talks in Bregancon in August 2019, the two presidents continued exchanging views on ways of establishing a new system of European security with a view to promoting cooperation and stability on the continent. They agreed on a list of main areas of bilateral dialogue between relevant departments on these and other issues.
The two leaders conducted an in-depth discussion on regional crises. Concern was expressed over the lack of progress in implementing the key provisions of the 2015 Minsk agreements and decisions made in Paris on December 9, 2019. The Russian leader emphasised the need for Ukraine to abide by its commitments on the political aspects of settlement and noted that there is no alternative to Kiev’s direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk.
Both presidents voiced mutual concern over the continued hostilities in Libya. They supported an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of intra-Libyan dialogue in conformity with the conclusions of the Berlin Conference held on January 29, 2020 and UN Security Council Resolution 2510 that endorsed them, and noted the need for concerted international efforts on the political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis.
During the exchange of opinions on the situation in Syria, Vladimir Putin told Emmanuel Macron about the measures taken by Russia to normalise the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Both leaders share a principled approach on the need to continue the uncompromising fight against terrorism and take steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria. The foreign ministers of Russia and France will continue discussing this issue.
Topical issues of developing bilateral cooperation, with a focus on climate change, the Arctic and peaceful uses of nuclear energy were also discussed.
In the context of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, it was emphasised that Russia and France will always remember the glorious pages of the joint fight against Nazism.
Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the invitation to Emmanuel Macron to make a full-scale visit to Russia. The French President accepted the invitation with gratitude.
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Beginning of conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron (retranslated): How are things, Vladimir?
Vladimir Putin: Hello! Excellent! I am very glad to see and hear you, Emmanuel.
Emmanuel Macron: I am also very glad to see you.
Vladimir Putin: As we agreed, today we are implementing your proposal to hold a videoconference. As you know, on June 24 we held the Parade to mark Victory in the Great Patriotic War, as we call this big tragedy, the parade in honour of the victors in World War II.
This is our shared victory. We in Russia will never forget the French who fought together with our fighters, Soviet soldiers on the Eastern Front. This includes the Normandie-Niemen squadron. There were French fighters in other units as well. Thousands of Soviet citizens fought in the ranks of the French Resistance Movement on French territory. No doubt, this is our shared triumph – the Victory over Nazism.
Today, we are facing new threats. One of them is the coronavirus infection. Because of this, we cannot meet in person. But it seems to me that we have already learned to work in the modern format. In some respects it is even more effective than our usual meetings.
That said, regrettably, our old problems and old threats, which we must overcome together, have not disappeared. I mean terrorism, uncontrolled migration, climate change and potential pandemics, in the broad sense of the word, those that are linked not only with the coronavirus infection but with infections in general. Unfortunately, this also includes the arms control system that is being destroyed. All these problems are certainly on our common agenda.
I think today we will discuss everything I mentioned and will talk, in one way or another, about the growth of the explosive potential in hot spots. We will probably also talk about the problems of Ukraine, the Balkans, Syria and Libya – I know you are concerned about this.
Incidentally, today is the day when the Charter of the United Nations was signed, exactly 75 years ago. This is a reminder that it is always important to pool efforts in order to resolve shared problems. If we want to achieve positive results we must pool our efforts.
I know that you want to organise cooperation in very many of these areas. We will support your proposals in every way.
I am convinced that our current work will also be useful. But I would like to confirm once again my invitation to the President of France, to you, dear Emmanuel, to pay a full-scale visit to Russia.
This is what I want to say to begin with.
Emmanuel Macron: Thank you, my dear Vladimir. Mr President,
I am happy that we have found the time for this conversation although, regrettably, we have to communicate via the screen, through a camera, as you have said. This allows us to save time on flying but this is, of course, not as pleasant as a personal meeting.
Nevertheless, for me this is primarily an opportunity to express once again full support for the Russian people who have been strongly affected by the global pandemic, and its sanitary, economic and social aftermath. We want to express our unreserved solidarity. It was this virus that prevented us from meeting each other in person two days ago and on May 9.
And, as you have recalled, this conversation is taking place at a very important moment, after the celebrations of the Victory over Nazism. I wanted to attend these celebrations personally. As I have already written to you and I want to repeat, France honours the sacrifices made by the Soviet people during World War II: this amounted to the death of 27 million people, military personnel and civilians. We also wish to commemorate the people of Eastern Europe, who also suffered during this difficult historical period.
I am also aware of how important it is to protect work on historical memory that our history researchers are engaged in. It is crucial to remember all those historical wounds, it is necessary to avoid instrumentalisation which may occasionally occur. And great nations should pursue this work.
We must remember this in the long run. This is the way we acted when we met in Bregancon and launched a new agenda, that is, building up an agenda of trust and security between us.
I think the crisis we are going through and other regional crises reveal the significance of the European space broadly speaking, from Lisbon to Vladivostok. This is a real space of cooperation and peace. We realise the importance of this and the challenges we are facing.
You recalled that we are having our current video conversation on the 75th anniversary of the St Francisco Charter which was aimed at unity and rapprochement. It adds value to the project you and I had – to unite the five permanent members of the Security Council. I would suggest to you that we should work on the agenda we outlined in Bregancon. You reminded me of that.
There are three challenges to consider. These involve establishing concrete conditions for our dialogue on security, both bilateral and multilateral. We must also have a crises agenda, in particular, on the situation in Libya, and in Ukraine and Syria. And the third is cooperation for the future – healthcare, the economy and also environmental protection. Environmental protection is vital, as you have said.
If you agree, I suggest we get down to our practical work right away so that we can have a frank conversation. I want to suggest, sanitary conditions permitting, that I accept your proposal and come to Russia on an official visit at the end of summer so that we can have more time to talk. And I would also just like to visit your country.
Vladimir Putin: I will be happy to see you, Emmanuel. You are welcome.
Let’s get down to business.