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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he told France’s leader it’s about time for Russia and France to “get over” the difficulties straining their relations.

Putin met Sunday in Moscow with French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s office said he wanted to make Europe’s voice heard after last week’s contentious NATO summit and before Putin’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Putin says trade growth grew 19 between Russia and France in the first half of 2018. He said that provided “grounds to believe that we will get over all the difficulties we have recently been facing and will embark on a path of positive development.”

The distance between France and Russia has been driven by Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria. Macron’s office says those were topics he wanted to discuss with Putin.

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