28 May 2018

French, Russian FMs meet in Paris

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France’s foreign minister played host to his Russian counterpart here Thursday where the two diplomats discussed Ukraine and the fight against terrorism, following their meeting in Moscow last month. reports citing Anadolu news.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sergei Lavrov told a press conference they agreed their countries should strengthen cooperation, particularly in the fight against terrorism.

"We hope that the dialogue with Russia could quickly be translated into concrete action to strengthen peace and international stability," Le Drian said. "We are facing a common enemy, terrorism, and we share the same goal, peace."

That common goal may take divergent paths when it comes to Syria and Le Drian acknowledged the two countries may disagree on certain aspects.

Russia currently backs the Syrian government militarily and is at odds with France which has joined the U.S.-led anti Daesh coalition in Syria and has demanded President Bashar al-Assad relinquish power.

“While we are both very firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons, the challenge now is to achieve the complete destruction of the Syrian regime's chemical arsenal,” Le Drian said

The top French diplomat said the Syrian regime should cease hostilities, and he insisted "a political solution" is "essential to unite the Syrians".

According to Le Drian, "the tragedy" of the Syrian population is living on the ground.

"I hope that we can complete in this frank dialogue to also guarantee a safe full and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid everywhere, where it is necessary," he said."

In his remarks, Lavrov focused on terrorism as “our number one enemy” and to fight it “we must put aside all our other affairs.

"We mentioned that the main goal is to destroy Daesh, the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups defined [as such] by the United Nations," Lavrov said.

As for the crisis in Ukraine, where the government there is battling pro-Russian separatists, Le Drian highlighted the importance of reaching a solution in order to improve relations between France and Russia.

He said the group of senior diplomatic representatives from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, known as the Normandy format, is an avenue to which his country remains "fully engaged alongside Germany".

Le Drian also urged all parties to respect the parameters of the Minsk agreements signed in 2015.

2017.07.07 / 09:00
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