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Russia to Push Syria Peace Talks With Germany, France

Russia, Germany and France agreed to push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebels back to the negotiating table, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top foreign policy aide said.

“With our German and French partners, we agreed to increase our work” with the respective sides in the Syrian conflict, Yuri Ushakov, a former ambassador to the U.S. who advises Putin on foreign policy, told reporters in Moscow today.

Putin met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and with French President Francois Hollande in Paris yesterday for talks on Europe’s debt crisis and foreign-policy issues ahead of a Russia-European Unit summit in St. Petersburg beginning tomorrow. France disagrees with Russia over “who is responsible for the violence and over the need for Assad to leave,” Hollande said at a joint press conference with Putin.

“We need to compel both the authorities and the opposition to get the political process going,” Ushakov said. “We’re prepared to do that, and we called on our partners to also use their areas of influence to actively weigh on the relevant forces and leaders.”

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