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Macron To Meet with Putin in France on May 29

PARIS, May 23, 2017 (Nouvelle Solidarité)—While the entire country is currently mobilizing for the June 11-18 legislative elections, and the domestic policies are just beginning to come into being, newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron is rapidly moving to define his territory in the international arena. Clearly, the European dossier and the Franco-German relations are, at this point, his top priority, and he made his first trip to Germany to confirm that choice.

Through Xi Jinping’s and Putin’s initiative, however, the urgent questions of peace and the international order have come knocking at his door very quickly. While Xi Jinping made a point to invite Macron personally to come to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Putin is doing his best to repair the terrible relations that developed between Russia and Macron during the Presidential election.

The day after the election, on May 8, Putin first congratulated Macron on his election and called upon him "to go beyond the mutual distrust" and to "unite forces to ensure the stability and security internationally." Again on May 18, on Putin’s initiative, both presidents had a telephone conversation and agreed on that occasion "to work together on international and regional questions, including the fight against terrorism."

Today a meeting between both presidents was announced for next Monday May 29. A most appropriate historical event, the inauguration of an exhibit at the Great Trianon of the Versailles palace, celebrating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great’s coming to France in 1717, has been taken as the occasion to organize this meeting! "The development of Franco-Russian relations in all areas, will be at the heart of the discussions," stated the Kremlin in a communiqué. Russia’s Ambassador in Paris, Alexander Orlov is very vocally promoting those contacts. "Macron is a very intelligent, realistic, pragmatic man," he said last Friday in a speech to French business leaders. "With him we have better chances to progress than before.... We will be able to return to the relations we had with François Mitterrand."

The Atlanticists are already beginning to panic and rationalize all this by saying, as did the Russian expert at the French Institute of International Relations Thomas Gomart, that "this meeting has come up quite soon," but that it is only happening after a trip by Macron to Berlin and after the NATO summit (on Thursday this week) and the G7 meeting over the weekend. He believes "it’s a message that underlines that the French priority is Germany and the European project."