CNN reports: French president Emmanuel Macron says he has urged Vladimir Putin to ensure that the rights of LGBT people are protected following allegations of a crackdown on gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
The Russian president was in France for talks with Macron, two weeks after his election victory. Macron’s call comes after widespread reports of a brutal campaign by the authorities against gay men in Chechnya, including allegations of torture and murder.
“I emphasized to President Putin…how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities,” Macron said during a news conference with the Russian leader.
“We spoke about the cases of LGBT people in Chechnya… I told President Putin what France is expecting regarding this issue, and we agreed to regularly check on this subject.”
Macron added that President Putin told him he had started a number of initiatives with regard to the Chechen LGBT community. Previously, Putin said he would talk to the prosecutor general and interior minister regarding an investigation.
The French president has added his voice to that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who, also during a recent meeting with Putin, asked the Russian president to guarantee the rights of minorities in Chechnya. [Continue reading…]
Reuters reports: When they emerged from talks, which went on for almost an hour longer than scheduled, Macron said they had had a “frank exchange” and both men stressed they had agreed on the need to move forward on divisive issues such as Syria and Ukraine.
But at a joint news conference after their talks, ill-feeling came to the surface over past allegations made by Macron’s camp that state-funded Russian news outlets had sought to destabilise his campaign.
With Putin alongside him, Macron repeated the accusation in a reply to a journalist’s question, saying: “During the campaign, Russia Today and Sputnik were agents of influence which on several occasions spread fake news about me personally and my campaign.
“They behaved like organs of influence, of propaganda and of lying propaganda,” he said. [Continue reading…]