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After election, Macron urges Putin to act on Syria, Russian democracy

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron gives a joint press conference with Germany's chancellor at the Eylsee presidential Palace in Paris, France March 16, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone to President Vladimir Putin on Monday, and wished Russia and its people success in modernising the country after Sunday’s election victory.

“In the name of France, the French president offered Russia and the Russian people his wishes for success with the modernisation of the country on the political, democratic, economic and social fronts,” the Elysee said in a statement.

In the same call, Macron reiterated his concerns about the situation in Syria, where Russian troops are fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad, calling on Russia to make every effort to end the fighting and stem civilian casualties.

He also called on Russian authorities to offer clarity on their role in the nerve agent attack on a former spy in the English city of Salisbury, and to come clean on any arms programmes that may not have been declared to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“The French president underlined his conviction that, once the terms are clarified, cooperation between Europe and Russia is essential for the security of the European continent and in the interests of our countries,” the statement said.

Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Richard Lough