23 October 2016

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Bloomberg: Ayrault says France may meet Russia, Ukraine, Germany this month

Leaders of France, Germany and Russia could still meet with President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin on October 19 to discuss the Ukraine situation, though the French government also wants Russia to make progress on other issues such as Syria, French officials said, according to Bloomberg.

The Normandy Four includes leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia / Photo from UNIAN
The Normandy Four includes leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia / Photo from UNIAN

The meeting is "possible but not confirmed," Jean-Marc Ayrault said in an interview with Europe1 radio, Bloomberg wrote.

French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told reporters there will be telephone conversations between the leaders Wednesday and Thursday to discuss whether to meet.

Putin shuns Paris visit after France offers talks only on Syria - ReutersPutin called off a visit to Paris scheduled for October 19 to inaugurate a Russian church because French President Francois Hollande would only meet with him to talk about Syria, where Russian warplanes are bombing Aleppo to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

It would have been "surreal" to accompany Putin to the ceremonies while the bombings continue, Ayrault said. Russia is bombing civilians, not terrorists, he added.

"We have asked them to stop bombing the population, to stop supporting the Assad regime, and to unite with us against the terrorists" of Islamic State, Ayrault said.

Heavy air strikes resume on Aleppo - BBCAyrault reiterated that France supports war-crime investigations into the Aleppo bombings.

Asked if an assault on the Islamic State-held town of Mosul in Iraq was days or hours away, Ayrault said "yes, but I'm not going to give you the day or the hour."

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