Abe, Macron discuss N Korea, Iran

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They will meet with Russian and French executives at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russia's leading business event and a showcase for Putin.

But there were only fleeting signs of those differences when Macron met Putin at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual showcase for investment in Russia that the Russian leader hosts in his home town. "If you asked me what is a fair price, I would say we're perfectly happy with $60 a barrel".

The meeting takes place after President Donald Trump on May 8 pulled the United States out of the 2015 pact that placed limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions.

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Washington's withdrawal from the pact raises the prospect that Russian or French companies doing business with Iran could be hit with unilateral USA sanctions.

Macron's office however said that while the pair agreed on the need to "preserve the gains from the agreement", the French leader was also pushing for worldwide talks on a potential wider deal.

Moscow's hopes for better ties with Washington under Trump have fizzled amid investigations into alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

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Trump has derided the Iran deal as "insane" partly because its restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities begin expiring in 2025. Speaking at the panel, Putin again denied any meddling in the US election in 2016.

"When points of view coincide, it can only mean that the countries edge at least a bit closer to each other", Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said earlier this month.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke at the forum and called for closer cooperation with Russian Federation.

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The presence of Macron and Abe and their statements in favor of cooperation were important for Putin, indicating that the USA -led efforts to isolate Russian Federation face increasing obstacles.

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