French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for easing tensions with Russia as top French ministers met their counterparts in Moscow on Monday.
“The time has come, the time is right, to work towards reducing distrust,” Le Drian said at a press conference in the Russian capital.
Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly held the first meeting in the so-called “2+2” format suspended after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine following national referendum in 2014.
“We have come to suggest, in the name of the president of the republic, a new agenda of trust and security,” Le Drian said.
Parly said “it is important to talk to each other, to avoid misunderstanding and friction.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said progress on rebuilding ties was “possible and necessary”.
Ties between Russia and Europe have been deeply strained since 2014, when the European Union and United States imposed sanctions over the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron has embarked on a bid to bring Russia in from the cold, hosting President Vladimir Putin for talks in southern France last month and renewing high-level diplomatic contacts.