Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Emmanuel Macron stunned as Vladimir Putin claims ‘G7 doesn’t exist’ in awkward moment | World | News

The pair met at ‘s official holiday residence in Bregançon in southern France on Monday. The visit came days before world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, gather for the August 24-26 Group of Seven (G7) summit in the southwestern French town of Biarritz. The French leader was keen to show Moscow it is not ostracised despite being kicked out of the G7 after its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. But as they took questions from reporters at a joint press conference, the Russian President was quick to dismiss the importance of the G7’s existence.

“It was Russia’s turn to host the G8 and our partners didn’t come.

“Well, they are welcome anytime. Please, even as G7. But there are other international institutions that play a significant role in international affairs.

“Take the G20. You have big economic powerhouses like China, India and many others.

“They count for almost 90 percent of the global economy so we really value these full format platforms.

“And that’s why we actively cooperate.”

Russia, which denies the accusation, says Ukraine is not honouring commitments under the ceasefire agreement, including giving special status to Donbass.

Former French Minister Hubert Védrine claimed that President Macron’s decision to invite the Russian leader was a “very useful attempt to get France, and possibly even Europe, out of an impasse and to end a sterile war of opposing positions that’s been going on for years”.

Mr Macron’s olive branch is not a sign of “complacency,” Mr Védrine added, dismissing claims that the French leader was deliberately turning a blind eye to the political repression that underpins Mr Putin’s rule. 

But its arrogant behaviour has undermined the principles of international relations, according to the former diplomacy chief.

He said: “Meeting with someone doesn’t mean you approve of their actions; engaging in a discussion with someone isn’t legitimising their actions; maintaining friendly relations with a country doesn’t mean you’re ‘friends’. It’s about protecting your interests.”

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