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Kerry Arrives for U.S.-French Talks on Syria, Mali

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to consult tomorrow with his French counterpart about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s war against rebel forces and unrest in Mali.

Kerry, who arrived in Paris tonight, will meet Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for breakfast to discuss international efforts “to bring an end to the Assad regime’s brutal campaign against the Syrian people,” and “to restore democracy in Mali,” according to Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman.

The two men will also discuss the Central African Republic, where the rebel Seleka movement seized power two days ago, Psaki told reporters traveling with Kerry.

Kerry will meet French business leaders to discuss economic growth and the U.S.-European Union trade pact under discussion.

The U.S. and EU are negotiating a free trade accord that, if adopted, would remove tariffs, ease regulatory barriers and expand investment access. Trade between the U.S. and EU amounted to $4.5 trillion in 2011, the U.S. said.

The top American diplomat is returning to the U.S. tomorrow after a week in Israel and Jordan with President Barack Obama, and a separate trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Paris at ilakshmanan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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