France, EU can cooperate with Türkiye on Ukraine, says UN envoy

We are more than happy to cooperate with Türkiye on Ukraine, says Nicolas de Riviere.

France, EU can cooperate with Türkiye on Ukraine, says UN envoy

France's permanent representative to the UN said the "rocky relationship" between France and Türkiye has now improved and the two countries can resume cooperation on matters, including the Russia-Ukraine war.

Türkiye and France have had tense relations in recent years over Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, and other issues with both countries trading barbs at each other.

As France assumed the rotating UN Security Council presidency as of Sept. 1, Nicolas de Riviere sat down for an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.

He said he was happy to see that relations with Türkiye had "improved a lot" and France and Europe could cooperate with Ankara.

"We are more than happy to cooperate with Turkey on Ukraine. I think it is absolutely critical," he said.

He welcomed all efforts to bring an end to the war in Ukraine, adding that Turkish efforts will remain critical.

French President Emmanuel Macron has attempted to be a mediator between Ukraine and Russia since the war began on Feb. 24.

De Riviere, however, painted a bleak picture of prospects for a cease-fire any time soon amid Ukraine's counter-offensive in the country's south.

"I am afraid that fighting will continue for a certain period of time. I don't think the cease-fire is coming soon," he said. "I am a little skeptical that Ukraine will be able to regain its lost territories. I would be surprised that Ukraine will be able to kick the Russians out of Donbas or to kick them out of Crimea."

Iran nuclear talks

Having served as France's chief negotiator for Iran nuclear talks, de Riviere also said that it is essential to return to the landmark 2015 accord for global security as the US voiced optimism that it can reach an agreement with Tehran after indirect talks mediated by the EU in Vienna earlier this month.

"Those who criticize the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) have probably no knowledge of the substance of the agreement and ignore the realities," he said.

The JCPOA saw an international inspections regime imposed on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from biting international sanctions that hobbled Iran's economy.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally left the agreement and re-imposed US sanctions in a fruitless effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.

De Riviere said that the return of Iranian oil into global markets in case of a deal followed by the lifting of US sanctions could contribute to market stabilization amid energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine.