France's Macron: China can play a bigger role in pushing Russia towards de-escalation in Ukraine

France's President Emmanuel Macron attends a leaders lunch during the G20 leaders' summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Pool

PARIS, Nov 16 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday G20 leaders agreed to push Russia towards de-escalation in the Ukraine conflict and expressed hope China could play a bigger mediation role in the coming months.

"I'm convinced China can play, on our side, a more important mediating role in the coming months, to prevent in particular a stronger return of ground assaults in early February," Macron told a news conference after a G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

He also said he had discussed with the Chinese leader the idea of a French presidential visit to Beijing at the beginning of next year. His office confirmed the visit would take place early next year if health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic allow it.

France, along with its Western partners, has tried for several months to persuade countries that have not openly criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine to take a tougher stance and encourage Russia to change course. read more

Reporting by Michel Rose and John Irish, Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Jon Boyle

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