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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Security guarantees for Russia are ‘essential’ part of any peace talks, Macron says

By Roger Cohen

An “essential point” in any peace talks on the war in Ukraine should be how to provide security “guarantees to Russia,” given Moscow’s concerns over NATO, President Emmanuel Macron of France has said.

Macron’s remarks, in a television interview broadcast Saturday, picked up a theme he has pursued since before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, but has not repeated of late. “We need to prepare what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table,” Macron said.

“One of the essential points we must address — as President Putin has always said — is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia,” he said.

The interview with TF1, a French television network, appeared sympathetic to the concerns of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and was immediately picked up prominently by TASS, the Russian state news agency. It prompted an angry reaction in Ukraine.

Macron gave the interview during his state visit to the United States, which ended Saturday. It was broadcast as he departed.

During his visit, Macron was at pains to underscore unequivocal French backing for the Ukrainian cause, pledging increased French military support, and President Joe Biden indicated conditional openness to speaking to Putin. On that basis, the two leaders presented a united front.

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