21:34 GMT +306 December 2019
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    France's Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault.

    French Foreign Minister Says Paris Still Open for Dialogue With Russia

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    France remains open for talks with Russia as the Syrian crisis and the fight against terrorism require urgent concerted efforts, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ayrault added that the cancellation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Paris scheduled for October 19 did not mean that the two sides would never hold discussions again.

    "We remain open…. We are facing a significant challenge in terms of peace in Syria and the fight against terrorism. It is our common battle, with many others, and I think we could share a lot more with Russians," Ayrault told French radio Franceinfo.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin would have to cancel his visit to Paris due to a scheduling conflict, while remaining open to meeting Hollande at the latter's convenience. Hollande also stated his willingness to meet Putin and spoke of "a profound need" for the talks with Russia.

    On Saturday, Russia used its right for veto in the UN Security Council to block a French draft for a resolution on the ceasefire in Syria's Aleppo. On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande said that residents of the Syrian city of Aleppo, a battleground for a conflict between government forces, jihadists and militant groups, had become victims of war crimes and urged to punish those who were behind them. He also expressed doubts that the October 19 meeting with Putin would be useful.


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