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Putin hails Russia-France ties during meeting with Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron praises Moscow-Paris cooperation

STRELNA, May 24. /TASS/. Relations between Moscow and Paris are evolving against all odds, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in the Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg.

"I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation to attend the St. Petersburg Forum," Putin said. "We will use this opportunity to thoroughly discuss bilateral relations, which are evolving despite all the current difficulties and our trade keeps growing," he added.

The Russian president pointed out trade between the two countries had grown by about 25% in 2017, "and the upward trend is still there in the first months of 2018."

Putin suggested that Macron and he discuss key global issues "that both France and Russia are interested in resolving."

Macron said Paris and Moscow can maintain dialogue and find solutions to global issues such as the situation in Ukraine, the Middle East, Iran and Syria.

"We are countries that have a special status as United Nations Security Council permanent members, we also have deep historical ties, as well as ties in the international policy area," Macron said. "That said, I believe that we can find solutions and work together on all the issues, be it Ukraine, the Middle East, Iran or Syria," the French president added.

At the beginning of the meeting, Macron thanked Putin for the warm welcome that he and his wife received in St. Petersburg, pointing out that a year ago both leaders had launched dialogue between France and Russia in Versailles. The French president added that relations between the two countries continued to evolve, particularly in the area of economy.

"As far as economy is concerned, we have been witnessing a constant growth, which is a very positive thing. We will sign a number of very important contracts concerning various fields today," Macron said, addressing Putin in a friendly manner.