PARIS, July 13. /TASS/. France supports military dialogue with Russia, while remaining a member and a partner of NATO, French General Staff head Francois Lecointre said in an interview for Le Monde.
"We support important direct exchanges of information on fighting terrorism and the situation in Levant [Syria, Palestine and Lebanon]," he said. "France has established communication channels with Russia in a bid to prevent conflict situations, in naval sphere in particular. […] But at the same time we remain a reliable partner of NATO countries and play no double game."
The general gave his interview ahead of the Bastille Day, the national day of France that usually includes a military parade. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will not involve armed vehicles and will involve half as many participants this year. The ceremony will be dedicated to the medics, involved in fighting the pandemic.
"Army’s participation in the fight against the coronavirus is very important," the general underscored. "But continuation of our military missions remain our primary concern."
"In a moment, when other nations and international organizations suspended its operations over the sanitary crisis, President of France Emmanuel Macron made a decision to continue our missions to demonstrate our reliability as a partner," Lecointre said. According to the official, "France augmented its obligations in the areas of France’s direct interests in Africa, near Syrian and Libyan shores, as well as in the Levant."
On July 10, Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Russian head of General Staff Valery Gerasimov had a phone call with Lecointre, discussing pressing issues of the international security, the situation in various crisis regions of the world, as well as bilateral cooperation. Previous talks between Gerasimov and Lecointre took place during the French general’s visit to Moscow in February.