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Hollande Unsure Of Putin Meeting As France Seeks Syria War Crimes Probe


Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and French counterpart Francois Hollande arrive to hold a press conference after their meeting in Moscow in November 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and French counterpart Francois Hollande arrive to hold a press conference after their meeting in Moscow in November 2015.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says President Francois Hollande will evaluate the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo before deciding whether to meet with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he visits Paris next week.

Ayrault told France's Inter radio on October 10 that he will ask the International Court of Justice to investigate possible war crimes in Syria.

"We do not agree with what Russia is doing, bombarding Aleppo," he said. "France is committed as never before to saving the population of Aleppo."

"If the president decides [to see Putin during his visit to Paris on October 19], this will not be to trade pleasantries," Ayrault added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on October 10 that Putin -- who is visiting Paris for the opening of a Russian Orthodox church -- is still preparing to make the trip and that talks with Hollande at Elysee Palace are still scheduled.

Hollande said on October 9 that he is mulling whether talks with Putin should be held.

He said that if the two leaders do meet, he will tell Putin that Russian actions in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad are "unacceptable" and "even damaging for Russia's image."

There has been widespread condemnation of the Syrian and Russian bombing campaign in the besieged city of Aleppo that has reportedly hit health-care facilities and killed hundreds of civilians since a cease-fire deal collapsed in mid-September.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS
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