French and Russian leaders to hold video summit Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on June 24, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 June 2020

French and Russian leaders to hold video summit Friday

  • The coronavirus pandemic, and the crises in Libya and Syria are on their agenda
  • France has already voiced its unease at Russia’s role in Libya

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a videoconference with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday, with the coronavirus pandemic and the crises in Libya and Syria on their agenda, France announced Wednesday.
The situations in Iran and Ukraine will also be raised, as well as “cooperation in the fields of health and the environment” the French presidency said.
The virtual meeting comes after Macron hosted Putin in Paris last August, stating that he wanted to bring Russia and Europe back together and that he believed “Europe stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”
Macron believes there is “a need to deal with all the difficult subjects,” with Russia, his office said.
For this “clarification and cooperation” is necessary, particularly in regards to European security in the face of international cyberattacks, it added.
German leader Angela Merkel has recently expressed exasperation at several hacking attacks that Berlin believes were carried out by Moscow.
France has already voiced its unease at Russia’s role in Libya.
Macron made two visits to Russia in 2018. During one trip he watched the World Cup final.
The French leader had also planned to attend the events in Red Square last month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.
But that event was canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It went ahead in Moscow Wednesday without foreign dignitaries attending.


Japan may ease virus entry restrictions next month

Updated 23 September 2020

Japan may ease virus entry restrictions next month

  • Tourists would still be banned and only longer-term visas approved, reports said
  • Japan currently bans entry for foreigners from most countries

TOKYO: Japan is considering easing strict coronavirus border restrictions from October to allow more foreign nationals to enter, local media reported Wednesday.
Tourists would still be banned and only longer-term visas approved, the reports said, as the nation looks to rebuild its economy and prepare for the postponed Olympics next year.
Japan currently bans entry for foreigners from most countries, but has been negotiating the gradual resumption of cross-border business travel.
Business visitors are already allowed from seven places — including Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.
This limited travel resumption has not resulted in additional virus cases, so the government is now considering letting in eligible visa-holders from all countries, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported, citing unnamed government sources.
Several other local media outlets reported similar stories, also citing unnamed sources. Arrivals would be capped at 1,000 per day and the minimum stay would be three months, they said.
An immigration agency official could not confirm the reports, saying only that negotiations on business travel resumption were ongoing with several countries.
Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters that ministers “will study how to resume accepting new visitors while preventing a resurgence of infections.”
“We will deal carefully with the issue while keeping an eye on the virus situation,” he added.
With the postponed Olympics due to open in July, discussions are also ongoing about how to handle the arrival and movements of athletes and spectators.