French presidency says Putin wants to delay Paris visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to postpone a planned visit to France next week after the French presidency insisted he hold talks with Francois Hollande about Syria, officials in Paris said Tuesday.
The presidency told the Kremlin that the only event Hollande wanted to attend with Putin during the visit would be a “working meeting” on Syria, and Russia “let it be known that it wanted to postpone the visit”, the French presidency said.
On the long-planned visit to Paris, set for October 19, Putin is to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox church near the Eiffel Tower, with much of the trip described as “private”.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Putin would hold talks with Hollande on Syria, where Russian forces have carried out air strikes on the besieged city of Aleppo in support of the Syrian ground offensive.
Hollande said Monday he had not yet decided whether to meet Putin and said President Bashar al-Assad’s troops had committed a “war crime” in Aleppo with Russia’s support.
“Those who commit these acts will have to pay for their involvement, including at the International Criminal Court,” Hollande said in an interview with TMC.