Putin, Macron talk Syria, LGBT rights at their first face-to-face meet

Berlin [Germany], May 30 : Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday welcomed his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin in Paris for their first face-to-face talks, during which, they discussed a gamut of issues.

The two leaders discussed the relationship between their nations, the situation in Syria, LGBT rights in Chechnya among other issues for three hours in the Palace of Versailles, reports the DW.

The meeting took place on the 300th anniversary of Russian Tsar Peter the Great's visit to Versailles.

During a joint press conference post the talks, Putin said the discussions were intense but Franco-Russian ties withstood "all points of friction".

Macron also agreed to the same, adding, "we disagree on a number of things but at least we discussed them." On the issue of Syria, Macron, whose nation supports removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said he would work with Putin to determine the best course of action in the country.

Putin, who is a long time ally of Assad, said he believes the stability of the Syrian state is crucial to combat terrorism.

The two leaders agreed on the need of a new round of talks on the violence in eastern Ukraine. Macron also brought up LGBT rights in Chechnya, saying he would be "constantly vigilant on these issues." "President Putin told me .

he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya with measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities," said Macron.

Chechen officials have been accused of arresting and torturing at least 100 gay men in the region. Relations between the European Union and Russia have been fraught since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

France was one the main proponents of sanctions that have significantly damaged trade between the EU and Russia.

Source: ANI