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Hollande weighs Putin talks amid 'unacceptable' Syria action

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French President Francois Hollande said he hasn't yet decided whether he'll meet with President Vladimir Putin when the Russian leader comes to Paris on Oct 19.

[PARIS] French President Francois Hollande said he hasn't yet decided whether he'll meet with President Vladimir Putin when the Russian leader comes to Paris on Oct 19.

In an interview with "Le Quotidien" on TMC to be broadcast on Monday, Hollande said that Russian action in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad is "unacceptable" and that the people of Aleppo are suffering "war crimes" that will be the subject of an international investigation.

Mr Hollande said he's still deliberating whether a meeting with Mr Putin would be useful, according to an extract of the transcript posted on Twitter.

"Would it add pressure? Can we make sure he stops what he is doing helping Syria's Assad regime by giving them air force support as they are bombing Aleppo?"

"If I welcome him, I will tell him that it's unacceptable, it's even damaging for Russia's image," Mr Hollande said.

"The population there today is a victim of war crimes and these acts will be judged," including by the International Criminal Court.

Mr Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters in Moscow on Monday that preparations for the Russian president's visit to Paris are continuing and talks are still planned at the Elysee Palace.

"We haven't received any other information from our French colleagues, we're operating on that basis," he said.

A meeting on Ukraine under the so-called Normandy format - involving Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine - is also being prepared, Mr Peskov said.

BLOOMBERG