Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Putin cancels Paris trip as diplomatic crisis over Syria deepens

Vladimir Putin has cancelled a trip to Paris next week after the French government accused Russian and Syrian government forces of committing war crimes in Aleppo, amid a deepening diplomatic rift over the conflict there.

"The president has decided to cancel this visit," Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman, said on Tuesday.  

"From the very start of his exchanges with his French colleague, President Putin noted that he is ready to visit Paris when it is comfortable for President Hollande. So we'll wait for when that comfortable time comes," he added. Mr. Putin had been due to visit Paris on October 19, to open a new Russian Orthodox cathedral and visit a Russian art exhibition in the French capital. French diplomatic sources said the Kremlin pulled out after Mr. Hollande refused to discuss anything at a planned bilateral meeting other than the Syrian crisis.

"There were contracts between the Kremlin and the Elysee this morning to offer to Putin a working visit on Syria, but excluding all other events that President Hollande could have taken part in," a source told Reuters.  READ MORE