French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Saturday he had invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks on August 19, days before hosting a G7 summit.
Macron said the meeting with Putin would take place at his summer retreat, the medieval fort of Bregancon near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas on France’s Mediterranean coast.
Speaking in Bormes-les-Mimosas, he said the fort was chosen because it offers the possibility “to work in isolation... and receive foreign leaders, which I will do with Vladimir Putin in a few weeks’ time.”
Following the bilateral talks, leaders from the world’s seven most developed nations are set to gather in the southwestern French city of Biarritz on August 24-26.
France holds the 2019 presidency of the G7, which also includes Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
Russia was slung out of what used to be the G8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
In late June, Macron had already announced he planned to meet Putin after the two leaders had a long conversation.
“I believe that within the framework of the G7, it’s essential that we take this initiative (with Russia)... in order to explore all the forms of cooperation on key topics of destabilization or conflict, without naivety but without closing the door,” he had said at the time.
Macron interrupted his holiday in Bregancon on Saturday for a one-day trip to Tunisia to attend the funeral of president Beji Caid Essebsi.
By the evening, he was back in Bormes-les-Mimosas where he posed for pictures with onlookers.
Last year, Macron came under attack after it emerged that he had installed a $38,000 swimming pool at Bregancon as part of renovations.