France: Emmanuel Macron Challenges Putin on Syria and Gay Rights

 France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, came out of his first meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday with a message of stark challenge, promising French military reprisals for any use of chemical weapons by Russia’s allies in Syria and saying he would closely monitor the curtailing of civil rights for gay people in Chechnya.

Against the gilded backdrop of the Palace of Versailles, Mr. Macron and Mr. Putin pledged to work with each other to fight terrorism. But their body language was at times tense, and the sometimes confrontational tone of the meeting was made clear in Mr. Macron’s comments afterward during a joint news conference, where he signaled his intent to play a forceful role on the global stage and not be cowed by other world leaders.

On human rights, Mr. Macron said he had raised the troubles facing gay and transgender people in Chechnya as well as those of nongovernmental organizations.

Mr. Macron said that he had discussed the reports of collective punishment of gay men in Chechnya with Mr. Putin and that they had agreed on a “very regular monitoring” of the situation.

“As for me, I will be constantly vigilant on these issues, which are in keeping with our values,” Mr. Macron said. Read more via New York Times