French President Denounces ‘Threatening’ Remarks from Russia

Thu Apr 04 2024
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SAINT-DENIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday denounced as “bizarre and threatening” Russia’s tone after rare phone talks between the defense ministers of France and Russia, their first contact since 2022.

The conversation, initiated by French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, aimed to bolster cooperation in combating terrorism. However, the dialogue swiftly escalated into a contentious exchange, with Russia insinuating French involvement in a recent terrorist attack in Moscow claimed by the Islamic State group.

President Macron quickly dismissed these allegations as “ridiculous,” emphasizing that France had no hand in the attack that claimed the lives of at least 144 people. Macron further asserted that France had been in communication with Russia to share pertinent information on the attack’s origin and organization. “The comments by the Russian side were bizarre and threatening,” Macron told reporters, adding that any suggestions France might have been involved in the deadly attack were “ridiculous”.

“I asked the directors of the services at the appropriate ministries to have technical discussions with their (Russian) counterparts to express a message of solidarity and because we had useful information — I am not going to reveal it here — on the origin and organisation of this attack,” Macron said.

Addressing the suggestion of dialogue on the Ukraine conflict, Macron categorically denied any such discussions, stating that France had neither accepted nor proposed any engagement on the matter. “We will have joint work with all those affected by terrorism. And when we have information we have technical exchanges,” he said.

The phone talks, viewed by observers as a departure from Macron’s recent firm stance against Russia, come amidst heightened tensions between Western nations and Moscow. Macron reiterated his commitment to collaborative efforts against terrorism but maintained France’s stance on engaging in dialogue concerning Ukraine.

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