May 24, 2018
Emmanuel Macron has met Vladimir Putin in Russia in a bid to salvage the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Donald Trump earlier this month, a decision the Russian President said will bear "lamentable consequences". The French leader will also try to find “common ground” with the Kremlin leader on issues including Syria and Ukraine, during the two-day meeting in St Petersburg.

Mr Macron hopes to enter into a “substantive dialogue” with Mr Putin in an effort to smooth tensions on contentious issues, the French presidency said in a statement on Wednesday, adding the young centrist was “aware of the difficulties this represents”.
France and Russia are at odds over a number of issues, including the use of chemical weapons, the war in Syria and the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Mr Macron has been openly critical of Moscow’s unwavering support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, whom he has repeatedly shielded at the UN Security Council by thwarting attempts to assign blame for chemical attacks against civilians on the Assad regime.
But even though both sides hope the trip will enable the two leaders to reconcile their differences, neither expect much progress to be made on Syria and Ukraine.
‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ Macron meets Putin to salvage Iran deal after US quits pact
Mr Macron’s inner circle insists the president is not travelling to Russia to try to woo Mr Putin, but simply to keep a dialogue open to help solve world crises, namely the Iran nuclear issue, which marks the first time France and Russia agree on such a key matter in years.
Washington’s decision earlier this month to withdraw from the 2015 agreement designed to stunt Tehran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has left London, Paris and Berlin scrambling to save the accord from collapse with the help of China and Russia, the deal’s two remaining signatories.
Mr Macron wants Russia to use its close relationship with Iran to make sure it respects its nuclear commitments despite the US pullout.
He has also floated the idea of a broader deal that would address Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and regional hegemonic ambitions in a last-ditch effort to convince the United States to rejoin the deal.
‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ Macron meets Putin to salvage Iran deal after US quits pact
During the joint press conference held following their meeting today, the Russian President said that he appreciated the efforts made by the European countries part of the Iranian deal to save it despite the withdrawal of Washington.
He also issued a stark warning, saying that abandoning the deal would bear "lamentable consequences".
Mr Macron, who spoke after Mr Putin, also commented on the decision of the US to pull out from the deal.
‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ Macron meets Putin to salvage Iran deal after US quits pact
He said that "sanctions are always negative for the international economy", referring to the new measures US President Trump is likely to issue against Iran.
The French President also spoke about a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which carried out a snap inspection in Iran to check whether the country started developing nuclear weapons.
In the report, which Mr Macron described as "comforting", the agency said Iran remained within limits on the level to which it can enrich uranium, its stock of enriched uranium and other items.
Mr Macron said: "There was no problem. It's just an encouragement. The IAEA wants to make sure that there won't be any problem."
‘There will be CONSEQUENCES’ Macron meets Putin to salvage Iran deal after US quits pact
Ahead of the visit, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio: “We must have a frank dialogue with Russia, but also a demanding dialogue.
“We have many disagreements with Russia.”
Mr Macron, who will be attending the St Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday as a guest of honour, is also pushing for a restoration of trade and cultural ties between Paris and Moscow despite EU sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
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