FRANCE’S MACRON AND RUSSIA’S PUTIN TALKS ON SYRIA

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who is on a two-day official visit to Russia, met at St. Petersburg’s Constantine Palace on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations and global issues, including the situation in Syria and Ukraine and Iran’s nuclear deal.

France and Russia want to create a coordination mechanism between world powers to push ahead with finding a political solution in Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

Macron said the idea was to coordinate efforts carried out by the Astana process that comprises Russia, Turkey and Iran and the “small group”, which was initiated by France, and comprises Britain, Germany, Jordan, the United States and Saudi Arabia. “We need to be talking about the situation after the war. The key is to build a stable Syria,” Macron said at a news conference.

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Putin made his remarks :“Russia will continue working with the Syrian government and the opposition in the framework of the Astana process. This format of negotiations has proved its effectiveness and gives a significant result since it is mainly based on the necessity of adhering to the principle of respect for the Syrian sovereignty,” said Putin.

“We are also ready for contacts with the so-called Small Group” the Russian leader added. “Naturally, we assume that the principle of respecting sovereignty must be observed.”

Putin identified as a priority task establishing a committee on a constitutional reform in Syria, that should operate under the UN aegis in Geneva.

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