Macron, Putin to Talk Iran Deal, Syria 05/24 06:22
Having failed to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to stay in the Iran
nuclear accord, French President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out to Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
PARIS (AP) -- Having failed to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to stay
in the Iran nuclear accord, French President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out to
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Macron heads to St. Petersburg on Thursday amid deep differences with Putin
over Syria, Ukraine and alleged Russian meddling abroad. But both men want to
salvage the Iranian nuclear deal.
Macron's aides insist he is not cozying up to Putin, or seeking to pivot
away from France's longstanding alliance with the U.S. in favor of one with
Russia and China.
Rather, they say Macron wants to keep a dialogue open to help solve world
crises. And France wants Russia to use its influence with Iran to ensure it
respects its nuclear commitments despite Trump's decision.
And the Iran issue marks the first time that Russia, France and Germany
agree on such a major matter in years.
"When points of view coincide, it can only mean that the countries edge at
least a bit closer to each other," Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri
Ushakov, said earlier this month.
France and Russia can't save the nuclear accord on their own but are trying
to find ways to keep it alive despite the threat of new U.S. sanctions on those
doing business with Iran.
For the Kremlin, the EU pledge to protect its companies doing business with
Iran from prospective U.S. sanctions sets an important precedent of the
European resistance to the U.S. pressure.
Macron and Putin will also discuss economic ties despite sanctions over
Russia's annexation of Crimea. They will meet with Russian and French
executives at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russia's leading business
event and a showcase for Putin.
Macron and Putin will also discuss Syria and Ukraine though neither side
expects much progress. Instead they will focus on safe, lower-level ties and
sign economic, cultural, university and sports agreements.
Macron will later pay homage to victims of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, St.
Petersburg's name during the Soviet era, and attend a performance at the
Mariinsky Theater performance in honor of Marseillais choreographer Maurice
One question will hang in the air during Macron's two-day trip: Whether or
not he will go to Russia when it hosts the World Cup starting next month, or
stay away to protest the poisoning of an ex-Russian agent in Britain. Macron's
aides said the decision still hasn't been made.