French and Russian leaders to hold video summit Friday

French and Russian leaders to hold video summit Friday

PARIS- Agence France-Presse
French and Russian leaders to hold video summit Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a videoconference with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on June 26, with the coronavirus pandemic and the crises in Libya and Syria on their agenda, France announced on June 24.

The situations in Iran and Ukraine will also be raised, as well as "cooperation in the fields of health and the environment" the French presidency said.

The virtual meeting comes after Macron hosted Putin in Paris last August, stating that he wanted to bring Russia and Europe back together and that he believed "Europe stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok".

Macron believes there is "a need to deal with all the difficult subjects," with Russia, his office said.
For this "clarification and cooperation" is necessary, particularly in regards to European security in the face of international cyberattacks, it added.

German leader Angela Merkel has recently expressed exasperation at several hacking attacks that Berlin believes were carried out by Moscow.

France has already voiced its unease at Russia’s role in Libya.

Russia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, has backed eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar has reportedly enjoyed the support of the Wagner mercenary group allegedly run by an ally of Putin.

Meanwhile, Turkey, together with regional ally Qatar, backs the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Macron made two visits to Russia in 2018. During one trip he watched the World Cup final.

The French leader had also planned to attend the events in Red Square last month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.
But that event was canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It went ahead in Moscow on June 24 without foreign dignitaries attending.