PARIS, August 19. /TASS/. France’s economic and security interests have obliged it to reset relations with Russia, Jean de Gliniasty, a Senior Research Fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said on Monday answering questions from TASS concerning the upcoming French-Russian summit at Fort de Bregancon.
"French-Russian relations are going through a turning point," he said. "France, just like some other European countries, experienced moments of uncertainty in relations with the United States, which was previously considered the pillar of security and economic development in Europe. This conclusion has compelled Paris to reset its dialogue with Moscow."
According to the expert, Europe "needs peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with Russia." "France has already come out in favor of fully restoring Russia’s rights in the Council of Europe, and many countries backed that stance," he stressed. "That also resulted in the intensification of dialogue and an agreement on a meeting at Fort de Bregancon."
"Our economic and security interests support this kind of dialogue," he added.
De Gliniasty noted that this approach enjoyed broad public support in France. "However, there is no unanimity on this particular topic in the European Union, and a mixed reaction can be expected," he said.
"I believe we have just taken our first steps along that path," the expert pointed out.
Dialogue between neighbors
For his part, Hubert Vedrine, President of the Francois Mitterrand Institute and former French Foreign Minister, likewise hailed the French president’s efforts aimed at a reset in relations with Moscow. "Currently, relations between Western countries and Russia are worse than in the last 20 years of the USSR’s existence," he told the Europe 1 radio station. "President Emmanuel Macron is absolutely right in his drive to resume dialogue."
"We will always be Russia’s neighbors," Vedrine noted. "We will either chain ourselves down through a policy of accusations and sanctions or try to revive dialogue about good-neighborly relations."
In his view, the meeting at Fort de Bregancon will make it possible for Macron to consolidate his position in the G7. The summit of the geo-political club, which is made up of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Japan, Canada and the US, will be held at the end of this week in Biarritz, France. "Macron will see Putin prior to the summit, and he will have something to tell other leaders on that score," the former minister said.
The right moment
According to Franck Bouaziz, an observer with the Liberation French daily, an additional factor setting a favorable tone for negotiations was the mitigation of the penalty for French businessman Philippe Delpal, a partner at the Baring Vostok Private Equity Fund. "This court ruling turned out to be very timely on the diplomatic agenda," the journalist noted. "He was released from custody just a few days prior to the meeting between the two presidents at Bregancon. This decision indicates that the issue at hand is an economic dispute."