Chemical weapons a red line in Syria, says Macron

  • Chemical weapons a red line in Syria, says Macron

Chemical weapons a red line in Syria, says Macron

Macron also took the bull by the horns on human rights, saying Putin had promised him "the whole truth" about an alleged crackdown on gay men in Russian-controlled Chechnya and warning he would be "vigilant" on the issue.

Monday's visit came seven months after the Russian leader canceled a trip to Paris amid a row over Syria with Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande, who had said Russia's bombing of Aleppo could amount to war crimes.

U.S. intelligence agencies say the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election, and a number of congressional panels, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Moscow.

"We have disagreements, but at least we talked about them".

He took aim at the Russia Today broadcaster and Sputnik agency, calling them "organs of influence and propaganda".

"Russia Today and Sputnik have been influential outlets which at several times have spoken mistruths about me and my campaign", Macron said, according to an English translation.

"I will not give an inch on this", the French leader said. "But they behaved as organs of influence and propaganda, no more no less". At the G7 conference, he dominated a handshake with US President Donald Trump, who is known for his vigorous handshakes.

After Macron's emails were hacked on the eve of the election, cyber security firms blamed groups tied to Russia, and state-backed Russian news outlets spread rumors about Macron. Moscow has denied all allegations of meddling. Putin on Monday again poo-pooed the idea as unfounded press speculation.

Coming so soon after an election in which the Kremlin was widely seen as backing Macron's far-right rival Marine Le Pen - with Putin hosting her during a surprise visit to Moscow - the encounter in Versailles will have an added personal edge.

While Macron is certainly not a flawless progressive politician, we should be relieved that it was him in that chair and not Le Pen, who would only further embolden Trump and the far-right around the globe.

Putin said it would be unusual if Russian Federation rebuffed overtures from European politicians who want to strengthen relations.

Putin added that Russian Federation had been well-aware of opinion polls predicting Macron's victory.

As cameras rolled, Mr. Macron held on tight to Mr. Trump's notorious power grip as the two men sat next to each other, the Frenchman's mouth clenched and eyes firmly fixed at the 70-year-old tycoon's squinty stare.

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.

He did not specify the form of such reprisals, but France flies warplanes over Syria and Iraq, striking Islamic State targets as part of a global coalition.

Monday's visit offered Putin and Macron a chance to reset a relationship that got off on a less-than-ideal foot during Macron's presidential campaign.

Handshakes are a very big thing to this president, writes CNN's Chris Cillizza. "The most important thing is the fight against terrorism. this plague of the 21st century", he said.

"It is essential to talk to Russia because there are many global issues that will not be resolved without a tough exchange with the Russians", Macron said at the G7 gathering.

On Syria, Macron insisted on the need for an aggressive intervention for regime change, which he euphemistically referred to as "a democratic transition in Syria".

"Failed states in that region are a threat for our democracies" and fuel terrorism, he said.

Russian Federation has criticised the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for not sending experts to the site, instead of analysing samples gathered from "various sources".

The Versailles exhibition commemorates a visit to France 300 years ago by Peter the Great, known for his European tastes. Macron added that he had already raised the issue when Putin called to congratulate him on his victory.

Earlier Monday, human rights activists protesting near the Eiffel Tower displayed a banner that said, "Stop homophobia in Chechnya".