Paris seeks closer ties with Moscow despite tensions Over Ukraine and Syria

Ukraine and Syria

The President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his counterpart from France, President Emmanuel Macron have deliberated on the close cooperation between France and Russia on a phone call on Friday. The two heads of state discussed how they can end the crisis in Syria. This comes at a time when Paris has been making efforts to have a good relationship with Moscow and ease the tensions that have existed for years over Ukraine and Syria. President Macron is set to make his first state visit on May to Russia. The two heads of state also deliberated on how the preparations for the state visit will be arranged where macron is set to meet with Putin at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

A press statement emanating from the Kremlin said that the two leaders reiterated on the need for closer ties during the Friday phone call to resolve the war in Syria which has now lasted for six years since 2011. However, the statement did not dive into the details of what the cooperation would entail. The office of the president in Paris said that president Macron pushed for more talks over Syria which were more robust. This was notably after an effort sponsored by the Kremlin was boycotted last month by the opposition in Syria.

President Macron also urged Putin to put to an end the degradation of the humanitarian situation in Syria which he said was intolerable and especially in regions that had been pummeled by Russian and Syrian airstrikes in the past few weeks. The two presidents also spoke about the conflict in Ukraine which is another sore point in the relations between the two countries. Both Macron and Putin stressed on the need to have the Minsk Peace Agreement which was negotiated by France and Germany in 2015 enforced. The two leaders also discussed a project that was launched on Friday to encourage more contact between French and Russian nationals.

The project that is potentially problematic is known as the Trianon Dialogue which is an initiative whose main aim is to have the Sanctions imposed by Europe on Russia minimized. In the past, the European Union has imposed economic sanctions against Kremlin for supporting separatists factions in Eastern Ukraine. The project sponsored by both the government of Russia and France is supposed to encourage relationships between the two nations through joint real estate agreements, sister city agreements, school trips and theater productions.

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