MOSCOW (Sputnik) — France is prepared to coordinate its counter-terrorism efforts in relation to Syria with Russia, but talk of a coalition is premature, the head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said Thursday.
"It looks like [French President Francois] Hollande is ready to coordinate his actions with Moscow on Syria regarding the fight against terrorism, and there were conversations about a coalition, but these ideas have now dissipated. Coordination yes, coalition today still no," Pushkov said at the opening of a Russia-France inter-parliamentary seminar in Moscow.
French lawmakers are on a two day visit to Russia, headed by Franco-Russian Dialogue Association co-chair Thierry Mariani. The parliamentarians are intent on developing bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as discussing the Syrian crisis with regards to confronting the threat posed by Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh in Arabic) militants.
France and Russia agreed to intensify their military and intelligence contact during a visit by Hollande to Moscow on November 26. Hollande's working visit to Moscow took place in the aftermath of the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which Islamist extremists killed 130 people and injured over 350. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Since late September, Russia has been conducting pinpoint airstrikes on Daesh and other terrorist targets in Syria at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.