Kadyrov Invites French, German Leaders To Investigate Reports Of Gay Abuse

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The use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line for France and would result in reprisals, Emmanuel Macron said on Monday during his first meeting as president of France with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Meeting Putin for the first time, Macron told a news conference that France and Russian Federation must cooperate to "eradicate terrorist groups" in Syria and did not directly criticise Moscow's role there. One day before the election Macron's campaign staff alleged that their computers were hacked and a mix of fake and authentic documents attached to the candidate were posted on social media "in order to create confusion and misinformation".

The Russian president said the most vital problem now facing the world is terrorism, and the only way to fight it is through global cooperation.

"We have disagreements, but at least we talked about them", he added.

Putin canceled a visit in October after Macron's predecessor, Francois Hollande, said he would see him only for talks on Syria.

Macron met Putin at the Palace of Versailles Monday, with their talks lasting for over two hours - much longer than had been planned. Mr. Macron is the first Western leader to speak to Mr. Putin after the Group of Seven summit over the weekend, where relations with Russian Federation were a key topic.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed confidence that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces had no role in the April chemical attack in Idlib Province, describing the incident as the West's pretext to continue its pressure against Damascus.

In addition to the abuse of gay men within Chechnya, the two leaders also discussed other issues, according to ABC News.

He also fended off claims he had sought to influence the electoral outcome by meeting Mr Macron's far-Right rival Marine Le Pen, whom he appeared to back during the campaign. Western sanctions, imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, have been ratcheted up since pro-Russian rebels carved out a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine. Macron also urged a stepped-up "partnership" with Moscow in fighting the Islamic State group in the country.

Before becoming president this month Mr Macron accused Russian Federation of pursuing "a hybrid strategy combining military intimidation and an information war".

Ahead of the visit, Macron told a French weekly that he was not "bothered" by leaders who "think in terms of power dynamics".

"I confirm what I said earlier on this issue, if necessary, the sanctions may be strengthened but only in case of escalation of the conflict in Ukraine".

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