Macron meets Iranian protesters as he calls for new dialogue on peace

French president believes it is important to discuss differing views and maintain unity

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, with Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez at the Peace Forum in Paris on Friday. AFP
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French President Emmanuel Macron met a delegation of Iranian women at the flagship Paris Peace Forum on Friday as he sought to express support for their plight.

Mr Macron was hosting the forum where he attempted to bridge divisions created by the war in Ukraine by discussing how the conflict affected countries.

Some looked at the war's impact on prices and crop yields as much as the human suffering in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

“Something that struck me right at the beginning of this war was that one part of the world shared our ideas about blatant aggression on our history and our geography but that it was understood differently in Asia, Africa and other countries,” Mr Macron said.

“There was no discussion of this aggression, but both sides were equally to blame.”

The purpose of the Paris Peace Forum, its fifth annual meeting, is to spark dialogue.

The organisers want the meeting to show that differences within a world community that has a multipolar dynamic can be recognised.

There is an underlying need to strengthen the authority of international law that guarantees the foundations of peace, they said. To address the meaning of this divergence over the war in Eastern Europe could mean a move towards consensus.

The Iranian meeting was a symbolic demonstration of solidarity with protesters after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, who was accused of improperly wearing a headscarf.

“I was meeting with a delegation of Iranian women. It was a pleasure to greet them and I wanted to express my respect and admiration in the context of the current revolution they are undertaking,” Mr Macron said.

Earlier, Mr Macron laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark Armistice Day.

In a side meeting in Paris, the British and French governments said they would together work on a climate change agenda in 2023.

“On climate change and biodiversity loss, both countries will support international efforts under Egyptian and UAE presidencies [Cop 27 and Cop28], mainstream and increase urgent climate ambition across broader multilateral processes,” a statement said.

Updated: November 11, 2022, 6:04 PM