PARIS   -    French President Emmanuel Macron says it’s time for Europe to reach out to Russia — to keep it in the Western fold, check its global ambitions and avoid being caught in the middle of a new Cold War.

Macron didn’t say outright whether he wants to lift EU sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the heart of East-West tensions for the past five years. But he said new sanctions “are not in our interest.” In a sweeping diplomatic speech Tuesday after hosting the G-7 summit , Macron sketched out a role for France as a “balancing power” — between Russia and its rivals, between the US and Iran, between rich and poor countries.

“Pushing Russia from Europe is a profound strategic error,” Macron said. Europe’s “weaknesses and mistakes” have helped lead Russia to boost its alliance with China and revive its influence in Syria, Libya and around Africa.

“It’s not in our interest to be weak and guilty, to forget all our disagreements and to embrace each other again,” he said, but insisted: “The European continent will never be stable, will never be in security, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia.” Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin met last week and vowed to give a new boost to peace talks with Ukraine. But the two disagreed on other issues, including Syria and the Russian crackdown on opposition protests.