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Macron wants Olympics truce in Ukraine and Gaza

Russia has maintained it is ready for talks about a ceasefire but will be guided by its “national interests and the situation on the battlefield”

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to “do everything possible” to have an ‘Olympic truce’ in the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine during the upcoming summer Games in Paris.

The Games will run from July 26 to August 11. Over 300,000 people are expected to watch the opening ceremony on the Seine River.

“We want to work towards an Olympic truce and I think this is an occasion for me to engage with a lot of our partners,” Macron said in an interview with BFMTV on Monday.

The French leader indicated he would ask for help in organizing a truce from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be visiting Paris in early May. Xi had “the same work to do” in 2022 on the occasion of the Winter Olympic Games, Macron noted.

The tradition of an ‘Olympic truce’ dates back to ancient Greece, when warring rulers agreed to lay down arms during the games so that athletes and spectators could travel safely to and from the venues.

Enacting such a truce was first floated by Macron in March, when he said that Russia would be asked to observe a ceasefire in Ukraine during the Paris Olympics. “They [Russia] must do this. That is what has always happened,” the French president said at the time in an interview from Paris shown on Ukrainian television and posted by a Ukrainian journalist on YouTube.

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Kremlin rejects Macron’s Olympic accusations

Russian President Vladimir Putin said later he had no information about Macron’s proposal to declare an Olympic truce during the games in Paris.

“We are ready to consider all proposals, but always, under all circumstances, we will be guided by national interests and the situation on the battlefield,” Putin stated, adding “I’ve said it before and I will say it again that we favor peace talks, but they should not be organized simply because our adversary is running out of ammo.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry has echoed the president’s statement. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insisted that France should stop supplying arms to Ukraine. “I come up with a response proposal to Macron: stop supplying weapons that are used to kill civilians, and also stop sponsoring terrorism,” Zakharova urged.

Despite growing international calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, Israel has vowed to continue fighting until all Hamas militants are eliminated and all Israeli citizens taken hostage are freed. Macron has not publicly stated how he plans to pressure the Israeli leadership to halt its operation during the Olympics.


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