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07/05/24 | 3:12 pm

France not at war with Russia, says Emmanuel Macron during China’s Xi Jinping visit

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said that France is not at war with Russia.

“We are not at war with Russia or the Russian people,” Russian state media TASS cited Macron as saying at a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi.

During his comments webcast on the Elysee Palace’s social media account X, Macron emphasised, “We are also not seeking a change of power in Russia.”

Additionally, he mentioned that European countries are prepared to “support Ukraine as long as it takes.”

Macron and Chinese President Xi, who is on a two-day visit to France, held talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday as part of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This visit marked Xi’s third State visit to France.

During a press conference, both leaders called for “a truce” in Ukraine and other global conflicts during the Paris Olympic Games.

Xi and Macron also discussed China’s ongoing support for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Macron welcomed Chinese “commitments” to “abstain from selling any weapons” to Russia and “closely control the export of dual-usage equipment,” describing such statements as “reassuring,” according to reports.

Xi, as quoted by Xinhua, cautioned against “smearing” China over Ukraine and urged all parties to resume engagement and dialogue to build mutual trust.

The Chinese President emphasised that China and France should uphold independence and jointly prevent a “new Cold War” or bloc confrontation.

A 10-point statement released by the Elysee addressed the declaration between France and China on the situation in West Asia. This followed Hamas officials’ approval of a ceasefire deal for Gaza proposed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators.

In the statement, Macron and Xi “expressed their opposition to an Israeli offensive on Rafah, which could result in a humanitarian catastrophe on a new scale.”

Both leaders stressed the urgent need for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to facilitate the large-scale delivery of humanitarian aid and protect civilians in the Gaza Strip. They also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages” and guaranteed humanitarian access to meet their medical and other humanitarian needs, as well as respecting international law regarding all those detained.

They also reiterated their commitment to promoting a political and diplomatic settlement regarding the Iranian nuclear issue.

Xi engaged in three-way talks with Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Following her meeting with the European Commission President, von der Leyen mentioned it was the third time she had met President Xi in just over a year. She stated, “Once again, we had an open and honest discussion. We have discussed the points where we see eye-to-eye and where we have differences,” in a post on her social media platform X.

Meanwhile, Xi is on a six-day tour of Europe and will head to Serbia and Hungary after his visit to France.

(ANI inputs)

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