- Title: Macron to push Putin to resume Ukraine talks during France visit - official
- Date: 17th August 2019
- Summary: HAMA, SYRIA (FILE - JUNE 8, 2019) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) SYRIAN ARMY SOLDIERS WALKING ALONG ROADSIDE (MUTE) TANKS ON ROADSIDE VARIOUS OF TANKS MOVING ALONG ROAD
- Embargoed: 31st August 2019 18:29
- Keywords: Macron-Putin meeting Ukraine Zelenskiy Crimea Iran nuclear deal sanctions Syria conflict Idlib
- Location: VERSAILLES, FRANCE/ DONETSK AND KIEV, UKRAINE/ SEVASTOPOL, CRIMEA/ UNKNOWN LOCATION AND TEHRAN, IRAN/ IDLIB PROVINCE AND HAMA, SYRIA/ OSAKA, JAPAN
- City: VERSAILLES, FRANCE/ DONETSK AND KIEV, UKRAINE/ SEVASTOPOL, CRIMEA/ UNKNOWN LOCATION AND TEHRAN, IRAN/ IDLIB PROVINCE AND HAMA, SYRIA/ OSAKA, JAPAN
- Country: France
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA007ASQU62V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: French President Emmanuel Macron will seek to persuade his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on August 19 to resume peace talks with Ukraine after its new president offered an olive branch, a French official said last Tuesday (August 13).
Putin travels to Macron's summer retreat of Bregancon Fort in southern France on Monday (August 19) for bilateral talks ahead of a summit of G7 rich nations.
The French leader is keen to show Moscow it is not ostracized despite being kicked out of the G7 after its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The two leaders will discuss a host of topics, including Ukraine, the Iran nuclear deal and the Syria conflict, the French official said, adding that Paris continues to seek international consensus on the issues.
Macron first hosted Putin in Versailles palace in May 2017, shortly after Macron assumed the presidency.
Topping the meeting in Bregancon Fort will be the situation in Ukraine after new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Aug. 6 pressed Putin for a resumption of peace talks after four Ukrainian soldiers were killed by shelling in the eastern Donbass border region.
Conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed forces has killed an estimated 13,000 people since 2014. A ceasefire deal brokered by France and Germany ended major conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2015, though small-scale clashes still occur regularly.
The so-called "Normandy Format" of discussions over Crimea involves France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, but its leaders have not met together since October 2016.
Bringing peace to Donbass was a top campaign pledge for Zelenskiy, helping him to a landslide presidential election victory in April.
Kiev accuses Moscow of waging an undeclared war in eastern Ukraine, supplying troops and heavy weapons to Donbass. Russia, which denies the accusation, says Ukraine is not honoring commitments under a ceasefire agreement brokered in Minsk in 2015, including giving a special status to Donbass.
On Iran, the French official said France seeks to open areas of dialogue amid tensions over the nuclear deal.
In recent months the United States has sharply tightened sanctions on Iran with the aim of halting its oil exports. European powers, still hoping to salvage the nuclear deal, have warned that heightened confrontation could lead to an accidental war in the Gulf.
On Syria, where Russia continues to back government forces in the eight-year civil war, the French official they were concerned about fighting in Idlib province, which is part of the last major foothold of the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said more than 500 civilians have died in hostilities since April.
Russia and Syria have said their forces are not targeting civilians and are instead aimed at militants including the Nusra Front, a jihadist group known today as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
(Production: Michaela Cabrera)
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None