Hollande, Merkel to discuss Syria, refugees in Paris

27th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks on the Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis in Paris Tuesday, officials said.

The two will meet at 1530 GMT, shortly before the French foreign ministry hosts a working dinner on Syria with officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Germany, the United States, Italy and Britain.

Those at the dinner "will discuss the means to bring about a political transition towards a united and democratic Syria, respectful of all communities, while also reinforcing our fight against terrorism," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.

It will feature mainly lower-rung officials, with the United States sending its deputy secretary of state Tony Blinken in the place of his boss, John Kerry.

Britain said it was "unlikely" that Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond would take part.

It was, however, confirmed that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir would head the kingdom's delegation to the meeting.

France was not included in four-way talks on Syria between Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey which took place on Friday.

A Russian spokesman said those four countries were working on organising another possible meeting this Friday in Vienna.

Fabius said last week that France is working towards presenting a draft UN Security Council resolution to stop President Bashar al-Assad's regime from using barrel bombs.

It remains highly unlikely that Russia, Syria's ally, would allow such a measure, which comes amid Western criticism of Moscow's dramatic intervention in the war to support Assad.

© 2015 AFP

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