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Putin to meet with French president, IMF head during SPIEF-2018

The Russian president is expected to meet with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan

ST. PETERSBURG, May 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday, including with French President Emmanuel Macron and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.


Talks with Macron

The Russian leader is expected to have full-format talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two presidents will meet days after Putin’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the agenda of the Russian-French talks will be largely similar to that of the Sochi meeting. Among the issues that Putin and Macron are expected to discuss are the Iranian nuclear deal, Syria and Ukraine.

The sides "plan to exchange opinions on current international and regional issues, including the situation in South-Eastern Ukraine, ways to resolve the crises in Syria and Lebanon, and problems related to the Middle East peace process," Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov said.

"(The leaders) plan to discuss the prospects of maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on regulating the Iranian nuclear program after the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the agreement," Ushakov added.

The two leaders will also pay attention to the bilateral agenda. The Kremlin aide said the two leaders may discuss participation by France’s Total in the Arctic LNG-2 project, if they consider it necessary.

According to Ushakov, the leaders plan to "sign several inter-ministerial and commercial documents," aimed at boosting cooperation between Moscow and Paris. He did not elaborate on their contents, as "the list is currently a work in progress."

Putin and Macron will also take part in various SPEF events. On May 25, they are to meet with Russian and French businessmen and members of the French-Russian Civil Society Forum dubbed Trianon Dialogue, which they agreed to establish in May 2017.


Other meetings

Putin is scheduled to hold a series of other meetings on the sidelines of SPEF. In particular, the Russian president is planned to meet with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

The Russian-Chinese meeting will focus on further development of Russian-Chinese relations, primarily economic cooperation, Ushakov said.

During the meeting with Lagarde, "an exchange of opinions on the situation in the global economy is anticipated," he went on.

"By the way, our country shares many assessments of the Fund in respect of remaining risks for stability of the global economy and shares criticism by the Fund management concerning unilateral protectionist measures undertaken by a number of countries in defiance of WTO norms and rules," Ushakov said.

"We expect the President to raise the topic of reforming the International Monetary Fund. From our point of view, current distribution of quotas to the capital of the Fund favoring Western nations is not completely fair and do not reflect, in particular, the specific ratio of rapidly developing economies," the official added.

"The topic of sanctions is also among the ones that can be discussed," the presidential aide said, adding that he does not know exactly whether this issue is raised during the meeting.


Contacts with businessmen

Putin is also expected to hold a number of meetings with businessmen in various formats on the sidelines of the forum. In particular, he is expected to meet with members of the Russian Direct Investment Fund’s International Advisory Board and international investors.

Major investment funds from 20 countries, including France, Japan, China, India, Italy, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey are expected to attend.

"In total, 40 international investors managing the combined capital of more than 14 trillion US dollars, have been invited," Ushakov said.