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France says Russia must be convinced to ‘finish with Assad’

Published: Updated:

A concerted effort to convince Russia of dropping its support for the Syrian President is needed, according to the French President Francois Hollande.

“We must have a frank discussion with Russia to convince it that it is in its interests, in the interests of the region, in the interests of peace, to finish with Bashar al-Assad,” Hollande told a press conference.
The French president said Paris was “involved” in efforts by Washington and Moscow, which look to push for direct talks with the Syrian opposition and the government.

Hollande noted that resolving the conflict “cannot simply be dealt with by two countries, it must be done by all of the international community.”

This statement by France comes as an international conference that aimed to broker an end to the Syrian war was moved to early June.

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov announced in Moscow last week they were planning to convene new talks in search of a political resolution to end the conflict now in its third year.

A State Department spokesman said the “goal is to get representatives on both sides to the table.”

Syria’s key National Coalition opposition group is to meet May 23 to discuss the U.S.-Russian proposal during three-days of talks in Istanbul, reported AFP.