Robert Harneis –TDO-(FRANCE) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has confirmed that French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Russia in May 2018 where he will participate in the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

Earlier in the day speaking on Tuesday, October 31, before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the French president stressed the need to maintain dialogue between countries, specifically mentioning Russia and Turkey.

‘We must talk to everyone and this is the method that I have adopted from day one [...] Because the destiny of Russia or Turkey will not be built by turning their back on Europe, since these two great nations are tied to Europe. Since their history, their geography, their literature, their political consciousness was built by rubbing against Europe.

‘We must therefore on every occasion tell them, insist, not by closing the door, not by excluding them from everything, not by letting them exclude themselves from everything, but by conducting this intense, difficult, sometimes thankless dialogue, strewn with small victories, but also sometimes small defeats, but which consists in hanging on to the thread because their people deserve it ... ‘, he declared. ‘I will continue to speak to everyone, to make our case, to carry our voice and our values,’ he said.

His remarks came at the end of a long speech in Strasbourg and were not without the politically correct patronizing tones with which all Western leaders feel obliged to address countries with which they disagree. At the St Petersburg Economic Forum, he will find himself on stage with Vladimir Putin and may not find it quite so easy get away the usual Western chatter about ‘our values’ and ‘human rights’. The Russian President has been known to politely but firmly remind western visitors of the appalling trail of destruction that the Western powers have left across the Greater Middle East. However, the significant fact is that, like the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, he is going to visit Russia where no doubt, in private, he will conduct himself with a little more humility.

The Council of Europe, of which the ECHR is part, is currently in open dispute with Russia over the re-unification with Crimea. Russia is a major contributor to the Council but since June has suspended its contributions, whilst the voting rights of its representatives on the Parliamentary Assembly are suspended.

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