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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

Macron hosts international conference to meet urgent needs of Ukraine

French president Emmanuel Macron (R) and Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky (L) in Kyiv, 16 June 2022. © Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

France will on Tuesday host an international solidarity conference for Ukraine that is intended to respond to the urgent needs of the country as it endures a difficult winter.

The event, to take place in Paris, follows a phone call on Sunday between Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky during which the two presidents discussed the implementation of a 10-point peace plan, as well as defence cooperation and energy stability.

"Ukraine can count on France's support for as long as is required to fully re-establish its sovereignty and national integrity," according to the French presidency.

Heads of state and government from 47 countries are to participate, along with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Zelensky, who has not left his country since the war started, will make a statement via video during the meeting, held at the Quai d’Orsay.

According to the president's office, the solidarity conference would focus on responding to urgent short-term needs such as ensuring the Ukrainian people have access to electricity, heating, and water.

Zelensky's wife, Olena Zelenska, who was welcomed at the Elysée Palace on Monday by first lady Brigitte Macron, will attend the conference along with a government delegation.

'Synchronised positions'

In a post on Twitter, Macron said France and Ukraine had “synchronised positions”, adding that French companies were also engaged in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

A parallel forum called "The Franco-Ukrainian conference for Resilience and Reconstruction", will see 500 French companies gather to discuss reconstruction contracts on Tuesday.

Even though the war is still raging, Western states and companies are already eyeing deals that are expected to be worth tens of billions of euros.

Another key outcome will be a new platform, agreed by G7 leaders Monday, that will enable donors to see Ukraine's needs and coordinate their aid.

Western military aid is currently coordinated in this way, but nothing of the sort exists for civilian assistance, Macron's office said.

The events come after Macron said earlier this month that it would be necessary to give "guarantees" to Russia to find a good balance once the war in Ukraine is over.

While some Eastern European leaders were unhappy with the comments, the Elysee has denied any tensions exist.

EU funds

In a separate development, the European Union on Monday agreed to add €2 billion to a fund used to help arm Ukraine, as it seeks to ensure it can keep delivering weapons to Kyiv.

That amount could rise to €5.5 billion by 2027 if member states agree later there is a need, it said.

The fund has been used to reimburse arms supplies by individual EU countries to Kyiv.

So far, together with its member states, the European Union has committed about €8 billion of military support to Ukraine, which is about 45 percent of the amount the United States has given.

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