Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, as members of their delegations surround them during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Nov. 26, 2015.Reuters
French President Francois Hollande said on Oct. 11 he is ready to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin "at any time."
"France has important relations with Russia on Syria," Hollande said in his speech at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Russia’s veto on the French resolution at the UN Security Council "prevented the cessation of bombings and enablement of a truce," he claimed.
The French leader stressed that the dialogue with Russia is necessary but it must be fair and open. "I’m ready to meet with Putin at any moment if this helps to stop bombings and encourage the truce," he said.
Hollande confirmed that the Russian president "has preferred to delay the visit." "But this will not prevent us from continuing the dialogue," he said.
France submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Oct. 8 calling for a ban on flights over Aleppo. However, Russia vetoed it. Then the US, the UK and France came out against the Russian draft resolution, which envisaged the withdrawal of Jabhat al-Nusra forces from eastern Aleppo.
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin decided to cancel his visit to Paris scheduled for Oct. 19 to wait for a date that would suit his French counterpart. "The case is that certain events linked to the opening of a Russian cultural center and holding exhibitions had been scheduled. Unfortunately, these events fell out of the program and that’s why the president decided that now the visit to the French Republic will be cancelled."
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