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

Meeting Putin for the first time, Macron told a news conference that France and Russia must cooperate to “eradicate terrorist groups” in Syria and did not directly criticise Moscow’s role there.

France and Russia back different sides in the Syrian conflict, with Putin supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Macron part of a western coalition that supports rebel groups and has accused Assad of using chemical weapons in the past.

Macron said it was essential to talk with all actors in the Syria conflict, including representatives of Assad.

“Our two countries will cooperate on Syria, this is essential,” Macron said. “We need strong cooperation because we have a joint priority, which is the fight against terrorism.”

Macron said he wanted Paris and Moscow to bolster intelligence sharing on Syria and to work together on finding a political solution to the conflict, but gave no details on what a political deal might look like. Continue reading.