As a consequence of the veto, President Hollande would be reconsidering his meeting with Putin, “taking into consideration the situation in Aleppo”, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said preparations for the visit on October 19 are ongoing because “we have no other information from our French colleagues.”
Ayrault explained that if Hollande “takes the decision to receive Russian President, this will be done to speak the truth and to try to find the way out of the situation that is developing there (in Syria) and to make Russia understand that it has chosen a dangerous path. He said Russia’s ambition for “victory in Aleppo” will lead to “a massacre.”
Russia has not commented on the matter as spokesman Peskov stated that they will “judge” French actions based on the official information they receive regarding the visit.
In a message believed to be directed at Moscow for its support to the Assad regime, President Hollande said, in an interview to be aired Monday night at a TV show, he has asked himself if it will be “useful” and “necessary” to meet Putin. Such a meeting could mean “supporting the regime forces who are dropping the bombs on the population of Aleppo,” the French President said. “The population is the victim of war crimes. Those who commit these acts will pay for this responsibility before the international court of justice,” he added.
Analysts think that cancelling the meeting is unlikely as Ayrault said “Russia remains a partner” and “not an enemy country” despite their “deep disagreement” amongst which is the crisis in Ukraine. He said they have “many other issues to discuss with Russia.” Hollande nevertheless noted that “if we hold talks I will tell him that it is unacceptable. That it is serious, even for the image of Russia.”