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Putin, Macron to discuss security in Europe, Russia-EU cooperation — Kremlin aide

The leaders will also discuss plans for holding a four-party Syria summit on August 19

MOSCOW, August 16./TASS/. At talks on August 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss ways to ensure security in Europe and Russia’s cooperation with the European Union, Kremlin Aide Yury Ushakov told journalists on Friday.

"Apart from bilateral relations, they will intently discuss in Fort de Bergancon international issues, issues of ensuring security in Europe given the role that Russia and France definitely play on the European political arena, considering that our two countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council," Ushakov said.

"It was an interesting question about the development of cooperation between Russia and the European Union, as the president [Putin] plans to touch upon this issue, also having in mind the new composition of the leading European agencies," he added.

Russia has repeatedly expressed readiness to restart a political dialogue with the European Union, Ushakov said. "We want to get back to respective work, respective contacts with the leadership of the European Commission and other agencies of the European Union," the Kremlin aide noted. He added that issues concerning Russia’s participation in different events of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) would most likely be discussed at the upcoming summit given France’s presidency of the Council of Europe.

France and President Emmanuel Macron personally have actively contributed to a full reinstatement of the Russian parliamentary delegation’s rights in PACE, he stressed. "We are grateful to France for a constructive role," Ushakov emphasized.

Situation in Syria

According to the Kremlin aide, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will discuss plans to hold a new four-party summit on Syria at a meeting on August 19.

Ushakov recalled that the first such meeting had taken place in September 2018. Taking part in it were the Russian, French and Turkish presidents as well as the German chancellor.

"Now this idea is on the agenda as well, but, in my opinion, it is currently far from practical implementation. However, our leaders can discuss it," Ushakov said.

The Kremlin aide stressed that Russia would like to hold the Astana process (Russia, Turkey, Iran) summit first. "We plan to hold this summit in the near future together with our partners. Practical work on the trilateral summit is in progress," he added.

According to Ushakov, Putin and Macron will also discuss the situation around Iran and its nuclear program. "Let me note that Russia and France share the common tasks of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and preventing an escalation of tensions between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf and in general," he said.

Ushakov noted that the situation in Libya would be also on the agenda.

Details of the visit

Ushakov said talks would be held involving small delegations. In particular, Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kremlin Aide Yury Ushakov, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov as well as Russian Ambassador to France Alexei Meshkov. The French delegation won't be numerous either.

The upcoming visit takes place as part of regular contacts between the Russian and French presidents. The most recent meeting was held on June 28, within the framework of a G20 summit in Osaka, he reiterated. On July 18, the presidents had a telephone conversation. "I will tell you now, as we did not tell the media — the presidents exchanged meaningful messages in May, in which they discussed bilateral relations, as well as set out their positions on different pressing issues on the international agenda," he pointed out.

Ushakov also emphasized that the trip would come ahead of a G7 summit in French Biarritz. With this in view, "I believe that of course a conversation between Macron and Putin is of major interest," as the Russian side expects that the French president will share his considerations on the subject with the G7 partners in Biarritz, he said.