France, Russia eyeing united front against ISIS

The leaders differ over the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad

November 27, 2015 07:21
1 minute read.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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 Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Thursday (November 26) with both leaders agreeing to extend military cooperation in the fight against Islamic State.

"Me and the president of France have just finished detailed talks. They happened in a trustful, constructive atmosphere. Naturally we paid the most attention to the questions of a united fight against international terrorism," Putin said.

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Hollande said there would be closer coordination of air strikes.

Putin backed that message.

"Today we agreed to accelerate our joint work on the anti-terrorist track, to enhance the exchange of operational information in the fight against terrorism, to organize constructive work between our military specialists in order to avoid repetitions and incidents," he said.

Putin also spoke of the need to form a wide anti-terrorist coalition.

"Me and Mr Hollande view such cooperation as a concrete, practical input in the forming of a wide anti-terrorist coalition a wide anti-terrorist front under the aegis of the United Nations," he said.

During the conference, Putin criticized the Turkish government after a Turkish plane shot down a Russian jet on Tuesday (November 24).

"Those who use double standards for terrorists and use them to achieve their political goals - do criminal business with them - play with fire. History shows that such actions sooner or later will hurt the cohorts themselves," he said.

Despite the talk of cooperation, Hollande and Putin differed over the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad with Hollande saying France say no place for him in Syria's future. Putin said Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people.

Speaking after a working dinner in the Kremlin with Putin, Hollande said they had agreed to target only Islamic State and similar jihadi groups in Syria. The West has accused Moscow of targeting mostly Western-backed rebel groups fighting Assad.

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