France cautiously backs Putin call for Syria coalition
France on Monday gave cautious backing at the United Nations to a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a "broad coalition" to fight the Islamic State group in Syria.
Speaking to the UN General Assembly, French President Francois Hollande called such a coalition "possible, desirable, necessary" but said it would have to have "a clear basis, otherwise it would never come to light."
Putin likened his proposed coalition to the "anti-Hitler" alliance that fought together during World War II and said Muslim countries "should play a key role."
"We must address the problems that we are all facing and create a broad anti-terror coalition," Putin said in his first to the UN General Assembly in a decade.
Hollande used his address to rule out President Bashar al-Assad from a solution to the Syrian conflict, saying it was impossible to make "the victims and the executioner" work together.
Russia and Iran have both called for the Assad regime to remain in place to fight against jihadists.
Hollande blamed the Syrian regime for the chaos in the country and denounced what he called the "tragedy" of terrorism and dictatorship.
The hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Syria for Europe are not only fleeing war but "fleeing the regime of Bashar al-Assad," he said.
"Still today it is the same regime which is dropping bombs on innocent civilians," he said.
"It's not because we have a terrorist group (Islamic State) that itself massacres, kills, rapes, destroys the heritage of humankind that it means there is a pardon for the regime that created this situation," he said.
© 2015 AFP