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Ayrault: Hollande to decide on personal meeting with Putin depending on situation in Syria

Moscow remains an important partner for Paris, but there are still differences between the two sides

PARIS, October 10. /TASS/. French President Francois Hollande will take a final decision on a personal meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin due in Paris on October 19 taking into account the situation in Syria, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said.

"The president of the republic should make the decision, but he will do this taking into consideration the situation in Aleppo, Syria," Ayrault has told France Inter radio.

Ayrault also stressed that besides Syria, France "has many other issues to discuss with Russia."

"There is also the situation with Ukraine. On the same day, the possibility of holding a summit of heads of state is also considered in order to make progress on the situation with Ukraine," he said.

France and Germany actively cooperate as part of the so-called Normandy format in order to achieve the implementation of the Minsk peace deal by Russia and Ukraine, Ayrault said.

Moscow remains an important partner at talks for Paris, but there are differences between the two sides, he added.

"Should we give it all up? Of course not. Russia remains a partner, it is not an enemy country but still we have a deep disagreement and we need to speak about this."

"If the president of the republic (Hollande) takes the decision to receive the Russian president, this will be done to speak the truth and to try to find the way out of the situation that is developing there (in Syria) and to make Russia understand that it has chosen a dangerous path. If it expects to achieve victory in Aleppo, there will be a massacre and this will be a reinforcement of terrorists what France cannot accept," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that the Russian side continues preparations for the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Paris on October 19 during which the talks with Hollande are scheduled to be held. "We have no other information from our French colleagues, we judge from this," Peskov said.