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Russia's Putin says certain Syria's Assad didn't use chemical weapons

02 Juin 2017

"He knows immediately, from the off, that they are not on his side, they are not his friends", Nixey said, adding that it is hard to say how Putin will react to Macron's actions.

Putin noted that Moscow and Paris are looking for joint solutions to the problems of Syria, Ukraine, North Korea's nuclear program and terrorism.

Tsar Peter I, Macron slyly noted, was a "symbol of a Russian Federation that wanted to open up to Europe". He called it a failure that European nations were not involved in the talks over Syria's future but were being hit by the effects of that crisis, including the huge number of Syrian refugees trying to get to Europe.

Fresh from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels and a G7 summit in Sicily, Mr Macron promised "demanding dialogue" with Mr Putin, who was in France to celebrate 300 years of Franco-Russian diplomacy and an exhibition of Tsar Peter the Great.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Versailles Palace on Monday to meet Emmanuel Macron, the recently elected leader of France, all eyes were on the handshake.

Macron also challenged Putin on LGBT rights in Russian Federation generally, and in Chechnya in particular, following multiple reports of gay men being rounded up, held prisoner, and tortured.

Macron, whose intriguing handshake with Trump and meeting in Sicily with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went down a storm on social media, is looking in good shape going into next month's French legislative elections.

"Our two countries will cooperate on Syria, this is essential", Macron said.

Macron, who took office two weeks ago, has said dialogue with Russian Federation is vital in tackling a number of global disputes.

On Monday, after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters he had raised these reports with Putin.

Despite the denials of Syria and its backers Russian Federation and Iran, the US, France and others have said that evidence indicates the Syrian regime was behind the deadly April 4 chemical weapons assault.

'France's president Macron can gladly bring along Merkel and visit the Chechen Republic on a search for the truth. "We are convinced that he didn't do it", Reuters quoted Putin as telling the French daily Le Figaro.

Macron also told him he would be "constantly vigilant" about what is happening in Chechnya.

Putin didn't respond directly to all of Macron's accusations, but he claimed Russian Federation did not interfere in the French presidential election.

"That doesn't mean we tried to influence the results of elections; indeed it's nearly impossible", he said.

When asked about Putin's claim that authorities were investigating the human rights abuses, Deumier said "that is not true".

"I will be demanding in my exchanges with Russia", Macron said after the G7 summit on Saturday. His comments underscored the clear differences between the two men on multiple issues and fulfilled the French president's campaign promises to pull no punches with Russian Federation when needed.

Macron isn't the first world leader to urge Putin to take action on the unsafe situation in Chechnya.

Russia's Putin says certain Syria's Assad didn't use chemical weapons