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Hollande agrees with Putin Syria needs settlement but insists Assad should go

June 02, 2012, 7:02 UTC+3

We share the view that there is a risk of civil war, which would have implications for the region

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PARIS, June 2 (Itar-Tass) —— French President Francois Hollande agrees with Russian leader Vladimir Putin the situation in Syria may escalate into a full-scale civil war with negative consequences for the whole region. As he said on Friday night at a joint news conference in Paris after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, France also agreed that the conflict should be resolved by political means, but the removal of Syrian leader Bashar Assad from power was a necessary condition.

“We (Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande) share the view that there is a risk of civil war, which would have implications for the region. We also agree that a political settlement scenario should prevail,” said Hollande. “I consider that the question of responsibility and of the removal of Assad from office, which I consider a necessary condition for the start of the political transition process - that's where we may have differences."

"The regime of Assad has acted in an unacceptable and intolerable manner to have committed acts that discredited it,” said Hollande. “The only way out of this situation - Assad must step down. The way to achieve this is the UN resolutions, and the first stage - the Annan plan, which must be brought to a logical end. Kofi Annan should get all the tools to accomplish his mission.”

The second stage, according to the French leader, should be the political process that should be set in mission, "if the observers do their job." It would "restore Syria to security and stability," said Hollande.

"If we want to achieve the result, there should be sanctions, there should be pressure,” Hollande said. “I think that sanctions are a necessary part of such pressure."



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