Putin, Macron bond over shared unease at Trump's actions

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the presentation of the French government's plan for the country's most deprived areas at the Elysee Palace in Paris

The meeting takes place after President Donald Trump on May 8 pulled the United States out of the 2015 pact that placed limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions.

Yet even after Britain accused Russia of orchestrating a nerve-gas attack on its soil - further souring EU-Russia ties - Macron has stressed that ostracising Moscow would not yield results.

The extended comments on the need for a liberal global trading order are interesting considering Russia's history of Communism and the control Putin maintains over the country's domestic economy.

Rather, they say Macron wants to keep a dialogue open to help solve world crises.

"We must have a frank dialogue with Russian Federation, but also a demanding dialogue", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio.

And the Iran issue marks the first time that Russia, France and Germany agree on such a major matter in years.

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For the Kremlin, the EU pledge to protect its companies doing business with Iran from prospective USA sanctions sets an important precedent of the European resistance to the US pressure.

The superstate has also excluded discussions on ever restoring the Crimea region following its annexation in 2014.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, third right, also seen at a big screen, gestures as Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, second left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, third right, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, right, listen to him at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Macron has banked on nurturing relationships with awkward leaders such as Putin, appearing engaged on the world stage but remaining non-committal and trying to mediate among opposing sides without unsettling anyone.

Macron will later pay homage to victims of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, St. Petersburg's name during the Soviet era, and attend a performance at the Mariinsky Theater performance in honour of Marseillais choreographer Maurice Petipa.

"The latest decisions of the Congress had made our relations more stable and predictable not only in the medium period but in the distant future", he said.

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