14:49 GMT23 February 2020
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    The head of the Center for Political and Foreign Affairs told Sputnik that Donald Trump and Francois Fillon could have averted the Syrian crisis if they had been the leaders of their nations.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US president-elect Donald Trump and French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon could have prevented the post-2011 Syrian crisis if they had been the leaders of their countries, Center for Political and Foreign Affairs head Fabien Baussart told Sputnik on Friday.

    "If Francois Fillon and Donald Trump were the presidents of their respective countries in 2011 or 2012, we could have possibly skipped through these terrible years of absurd meetings and decisions by Syria's allies and by the United Kingdom and France," Baussart said.

    Russia's involvement in the conflict and its counter-terrorist campaign in Syria helped prevent an even bigger number of casualties, he stressed, adding that the Arab country's government could have collapsed with the territory taken over by radical Islamists.

    Trump's victory in the November US presidential election opens the way to a genuine US-Russian dialogue on resolving the crisis, according to Baussart.

    "Donald Trump's election as president gives hope, this is the hope for starting a real dialogue with Russia," he said.

    Fillon Only French Presidential Hopeful Able to Open Dialogue With Russia

    Francois Fillon is the only presidential hopeful capable of establishing a dialogue with Russia, Baussart told Sputnik.

    "This is the only candidate who has a geostrategic vision, who understands Russia and can engage in dialogue with Russia … He would not defend Russian interests, he would promote the interests of France, but doing it as a friend," Baussart said about Fillon's possible presidency.

    Baussart noted that he does not predict Fillon’s victory in the French presidential elections, but stressed that France’s former prime minister has real chances to win.

    On November 24, Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe emerged as the winners of the first round of The Republicans primaries with the former securing 44 percent of center-right voters, far ahead of his rival. The second and final round of The Republicans primaries between Fillon and Juppe is set for November 27. The first round of presidential elections in France is scheduled for April 23, 2017. Fillon has repeatedly made statements on the importance of involving Russia in Syrian settlement.

    In October, Donald Trump Jr., a son of the US president-elect, attended an event hosted by Baussart's think tank, also attended by Syrian opposition representatives. Randa Kassis, the chair of the Syrian opposition Movement of the Pluralistic Society, said she and Trump used the event to discuss how the United States and Russia could reach an agreement to end the war in Syria.

    The first round of presidential elections in France is scheduled for April 2017.


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    The Syrian war, Fabien Baussart, Donald Trump, Francois Fillon, Syria, United States, France
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