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PDF Russian Aviation & Military Guide, 2017
Russian Aviation & Military Guide 05(12) June, 2017
Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron

In late May in Paris, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with the new President of France Emmanuel Macron. Evaluate the meeting as very constructive and promising. France and Russia continue to cooperate, and the differences in some positions are not a fundamental obstacle. Following bilateral talks, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron held a joint news conference.

In the beginning of the press conference President of France Emmanuel Macron said: First of all, I would like to thank President Putin for accepting the invitation which I extended to him during our telephone conversation some time after I took office. I invited him to come to this symbolic place, where today we celebrate the 300th anniversary, almost to the day, of Peter the Great's visit to France. The Russian tsar arrived in France to better understand the secrets of the kingdom, which stunned the world.

During the visit, which lasted several weeks, Peter the Great spent several days at Versailles, which already then represented the pinnacle of arts and technology, and where the ideals professed by Enlightenment figures and the genius of the spirit of that era were already beginning to emerge in the early 18th century. It was in Versailles that Peter the Great met with engineers, writers, and archivists. As we know from history, he returned to Russia some time later with new ideas and beliefs, as well as sketches (which we will see together in a short while), with a great desire to modernize your country. He was elected Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, which was a source of inspiration for him.

Peter the Great is a symbol of the Russia that wanted to become open to Europe and borrow from Europe the things that made it great and strong. We have just talked about this during our discussion. What is particularly important about this story, which is now three centuries old, is the dialogue between Russia and France that never stopped, the dialogue between our intellectuals and our cultures, which sowed the seeds of the friendship that has lasted to this day. This dialogue is marked by our outstanding thinkers, artists and statesmen.

You will see a sketch of the monument to Peter the Great, with which you are familiar, Mr. President, since you were born in that beautiful city which is dear to you. This is the statue that became the pride of St Petersburg, your beloved city.

This Russia that is open to Europe, and this Franco-Russian friendship is what I wanted to share with you by inviting you here, to Versailles. This was the basis of our discussion today. This history transcends us and has cemented Franco-Russian friendship.

During the presidential election, France made a sovereign affirmation of its commitment to independence, its European choice and its desire to influence the fate of the world. None of the major challenges these days can be tackled without a dialogue with Russia.

This is exactly why I wanted to discuss together as indeed we did during our lengthy conversation a range of issues related to the present and future of our countries. I had the opportunity to discuss some important issues with President Putin. I reminded him of our priorities in Syria. And I think we will be able to work together in this direction at any rate, this is my wish for the upcoming weeks.

Our absolute priority is the fight against terrorism and destruction of terrorist groups, primarily, ISIS. This is the guiding light of our actions in Syria. Apart from the efforts within the coalition, I would like to strengthen our partnership with Russia.

I would also want us to arrange a democratic transition while preserving the Syrian state. I believe that the dysfunctional states in this region are a danger to our democracies. We have seen plenty of examples that led to the expansion of terrorist groups.

It is necessary to ensure stability and a democratic transition with two key points that were confirmed during the dialogue with President Putin. A very clear red line for us is no use of chemical weapons by any party. This means that any use of chemical weapons will trigger an immediate response − from France, at least. My hope is that we exchange useful data and discuss our view of the situation on the ground.

Moreover, France will carefully monitor humanitarian access to civilians in the region and the process of evacuation across the conflict zones in the area, because during a conflict whose complexity is clear to all, innocent civilians must not become victims of our occasional collective inability to make a decision.

Based on these principles I would like to strengthen cooperation between our countries. There is also a desire to eventually find an inclusive political solution that would eradicate terrorism and restore peace in Syria.

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, we spoke about different details and the implementation of the so-called Minsk Agreements. We would like and I hope President Putin will confirm what I say to see regular talks in the Normandy format in the near future, including Germany and Ukraine, as well as a complete summary of their results. We would like to hear a detailed OSCE report in the Normandy format on structural elements of the current developments in the region.

This process should continue in this direction and we exchanged views on this issue. I then said that, for my part, I would like us to de-escalate this conflict and its consequences on both sides as part of the Minsk process.

More broadly, we expressed the desire to make contacts between our civil societies more open and active to promote closer ties and constructive dialogue, like the current exchanges between France and Russia aimed at allowing young people, economic bodies, and academics and thinkers to engage in dialogue and become closer in order to overcome all kinds of miscommunication.

We would like to organise a Franco-Russian civil society forum. We will do this and call it the Trianon Dialogue in reference to the exhibition that we will visit in a couple of minutes. This will allow representatives of civil society and the academic community as well as the younger generation to work together more closely. As for bilateral relations, I would like us to continue and intensify them.

As part of our cultural cooperation, important exhibitions took place last year, one organized by the Louis Vuitton Foundation together with the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum. I would like artists, musicians, writers and academics to work in the best conditions, therefore our ministers of culture will work on the corresponding roadmap.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin noted in his response statement: I would also like to thank President Macron for inviting me to come to this wonderful corner of France, to Versailles, which I have never visited before. It is definitely an impressive place that speaks of Frances grandeur and its long history, which plays a substantial part in the ties our two countries share. This is reflected in the exhibition we are about to visit, an exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of the visit to France by tsar and reformer Peter I. The ties between Russia and France did not begin with this visit however, but go back much deeper in time.

The educated French public is familiar with Anna of Rus, Queen of France. She was the youngest daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, married Henri I and made a substantial contribution to Frances development as one of the founders of at least two European dynasties, the Bourbons and the Valois. One of these dynasties is on the throne to this day in Spain.

However, today, we spent more time discussing our bilateral relations and relations between Russia and the European Union. We spoke about the problem spots in the world and looked together for common approaches to resolving these complicated matters.

I believe that our countries fundamental interests are far more important than political considerations of the moment. The French business community understands this best and continues working actively in Russia. Let me remind you that over these past years, not a single one of the close to 500 French companies working on our market has left Russia, despite the difficulties and economic constraints. Furthermore, we see the interest our French friends show in expanding this economic cooperation. Last year, direct French investment in the Russian economy increased by $2.5 billion. Our bilateral trade is growing too. It was up 14 percent last year, and grew by 23.7 percent in the first quarter of this year.

We discussed humanitarian cooperation in considerable depth. We spoke about the undisputed need to develop our youth exchanges. More Russian students should study in France and more French students should come to Russia to study the history, culture and languages of our countries. I noticed that President Macron has a number of people with knowledge of Russian in his entourage. I hope they are not Sovietologists, but specialists in Russia in the broad sense, encompassing our language, culture and history. This is a positive development. I hope that we will have more supporters here, more people who understand us better, are attuned to us, and with whom we can hold substantive discussions on matters of mutual interest.

The exhibition we will visit now presents priceless items from the State Hermitage Museum related to Peter the Greats visit to France in 1717. As President Macron and I noted, this visit has become a major milestone in the history of our bilateral relations, setting them on a friendly track for many years to come.

Indeed, we spoke about key bilateral issues, the economy and cultural ties. We also spoke about the Ukrainian crisis and opportunities for solving the Syrian issue. Needless to say, we did not ignore the complicated and highly dangerous situation surrounding the North Korean nuclear issue and missile programme. We are fully committed to searching for joint solutions to all these problems. Of course, these solutions must improve the situation, not make it worse.

We agreed that fighting terrorism remains a critical common challenge today. The President suggested establishing a working group and exchanging delegations between Moscow and Paris in order to develop in practical terms and Id like to emphasize this cooperation in countering the terrorist threat that is extremely dangerous both for us and for the European countries, including France.

As for the Syrian issue, our position is well known and I described it for the President again. We believe it is impossible to counter the terrorist threat by destroying the statehood of countries that are already suffering from internal problems and disputes. I am convinced that positive results can only be achieved by working together in the fight against terrorism. However, I would like to repeat that we can achieve these results only if we join efforts in practice, countering together this plague of the 20th and 21st centuries.

I would like to thank the President once again for his invitation. He mentioned that Peter the Great spent several weeks in France, but as we know, everything in the diplomatic world is built on the basis of reciprocity. I would also like to invite the President to visit Russia. I hope he will be able to spend several weeks in Moscow.

Responding to a question about 300 years of Russian-French diplomatic relations, Vladimir Putin explained: You said that we are celebrating 300 years since Peter the Greats visit to France. This visit was a major event in our bilateral relations, so how can there be nothing to celebrate? We are celebrating this 300th anniversary. So long as we have the desire to celebrate, we will always find something to celebrate. This is especially true because, as I have just said, our bilateral trade is recovering, we are now looking for common ground on key issues on the international agenda, and, it seems to me, we are capable of making a common effort to move forward, or at least to start moving forward together towards resolving the key current issues. As for Russias alleged meddling in whichever elections, no, we did not discuss this matter and President Macron showed no interest in it. And why would I bring it up? I think this issue does not exist.

During his visit to France Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the newspaper Le Figaro. Answering journalists, the Russian leader noted in particular: As I have said to my French colleague and our French friends today, Peter the Great was above all a reformer, a man who not only implemented the best and the most up-to-date practices, but also was undoubtedly a patriot, who fought to secure for Russia the place it deserved in international affairs. But above all, he was committed to reforming his country, making it modern, resilient and forward-looking. He succeeded in many, if not all of his undertakings. He focused on research, education, culture, military affairs and statehood, leaving an immense legacy that Russia has been relying on to this day, let alone the fact that he founded my hometown, St Petersburg, which was the capital of Russia for many years.

One of the issues related to the extension of NATO to the East. Vladimir Putin answered it: For us this is a sign that our partners in Europe and in the United States are, pardon me, pursuing a short-sighted policy. They do not have the habit of looking one step ahead. Our Western partners have lost this habit.

When the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Western politicians told us (it was not documented on paper but stated quite clearly) that NATO would not expand to the East. Some German politicians at the time even proposed creating a new security system in Europe that would involve the United States and, by the way, Russia. If that had been done, we would not have the problems we have had in recent years, which is NATOs expansion to the East up to our borders, the advance of military infrastructure to our borders. Perhaps, the United States would not have unilaterally withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

This treaty was a cornerstone of current and future security. The missile defence facilities in Europe in Poland and Romania would not have been built, which, undoubtedly, creates a threat to our strategic nuclear forces and disrupts the strategic balance an extremely dangerous development for international security. Perhaps all this would not have happened. But it did, and we cannot rewind history, it is not a movie.

We have to proceed from the current situation. In this respect, we need to think about what we want from the future. I think we all want security, peace, safety and cooperation. Therefore, we should not build up tensions or invent fictional threats from Russia, some hybrid warfare etc.

You made these things up yourselves and now scare yourselves with them and even use them to plan your prospective policies. These policies have no prospects. The only possible future is in cooperation in all areas, including security issues.

What is the major security problem today? Terrorism. There are bombings in Europe, in Paris, in Russia, in Belgium. There is a war in the Middle East. This is the main concern. But no, let us keep speculating on the threat from Russia.

We are willing to cooperate, as I said a while ago at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, when I called on all countries to unite their efforts to fight terrorism. However, this is a very complex issue.
I would like to thank President Putin for accepting the invitation which I extended to him during our telephone conversation some time after I took office. I invited him to come to this symbolic place, where today we celebrate the 300th anniversary, almost to the day, of Peter the Great's visit to France. The Russian tsar arrived in France to better understand the secrets of the kingdom, which stunned the world...

Emmanuel Macron

The ties between Russia and France did not begin with this visit however, but go back much deeper in time. The educated French public is familiar with Anna of Rus, Queen of France. She was the youngest daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, married Henri I and made a substantial contribution to Frances development as one of the founders of at least two European dynasties, the Bourbons and the Valois. One of these dynasties is on the throne to this day in Spain.

Vladimir Putin

This Russia that is open to Europe, and this Franco-Russian friendship is what I wanted to share with you by inviting you here, to Versailles. This was the basis of our discussion today. This history transcends us and has cemented Franco-Russian friendship. During the presidential election, France made a sovereign affirmation of its commitment to independence, its European choice and its desire to influence the fate of the world. None of the major challenges these days can be tackled without a dialogue with Russia.

Emmanuel Macron

I believe that our countries fundamental interests are far more important than political considerations of the moment. The French business community understands this best and continues working actively in Russia. Let me remind you that over these past years, not a single one of the close to 500 French companies working on our market has left Russia, despite the difficulties and economic constraints. Furthermore, we see the interest our French friends show in expanding this economic cooperation. Last year, direct French investment in the Russian economy increased by $2.5 billion. Our bilateral trade is growing too. It was up 14 percent last year, and grew by 23.7 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Vladimir Putin
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