Macron, Putin to mix foot­ball, diplo­macy at World Cup fi­nal

Swazi Observer - - NEWS -

MOSCOW - French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron will hold talks with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Sun­day dur­ing his trip to Moscow to watch the World Cup fi­nal, a pres­i­den­tial aide told AFP.

It is not yet de­cided whether they will meet at the Krem­lin or at the sta­dium, where France is set to play the win­ner of Wednes­day night's semi­fi­nal be­tween Eng­land and Croa­tia, the aide said.

The meet­ing will come a day be­fore Putin sits down with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Helsinki for the first bi­lat­eral sum­mit be­tween the two lead­ers. Macron and Putin talk reg­u­larly on the phone and have hosted each other for sum­mit meet­ings in the last year, but they have found lit­tle com­mon ground on is­sues such as the Syr­ian civil war and con­flict in Ukraine.

British of­fi­cials are boy­cotting the World Cup in Rus­sia af­ter blam­ing Moscow for the at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion of for­mer Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal in the streets of an English town in March. A lim­ited num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ice­land, Poland, Swe­den and Den­mark, have fol­lowed suit but to dif­fer­ing de­grees.

Moscow has done lit­tle to hide its plea­sure at the ef­fec­tive fail­ure of a big­ger diplo­matic boy­cott of the event.

Italy's far-right In­te­rior Min­is­ter and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini, who is an open ad­mirer of Putin, is also set to at­tend the fi­nal on Sun­day. AFP

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