Hollande to urge Iran to help seek political solution for Syria

By REUTERS
September 20, 2013 22:41

PARIS - French President Francois Hollande hopes to convince Iran to pursue a political solution to the civil war in Syria when he meets his Iranian counterpart next week, aides said on Friday.

Hollande and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office last month, are due to meet on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Iran is one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's main allies in the conflict, which has killed well over 100,000 and destabilized the region.

Meanwhile France, one of Assad's fiercest critics, suggested for the first time on Thursday that Paris could arm the rebels, though it considers a political solution the only way out of the conflict.

An aide to Hollande, who will be the first French president to meet his Iranian counterpart since 2005, said France was eager to get Iran on board for peace talks in Geneva.

"What we want is Iran to fully commit to seeking a real political transition in Syria, as other actors have," the official said.


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