Putin, Hollande need vodka not wine to settle Syria


French President Francois Hollande met with Vladimir Putin on Thursday to discuss the Syrian conflict. Both sides said progress had been made.


Bertrand Langlois

French President Francois Hollande met with Russia's Vladimir Putin Thursday to talk about the Syrian conflict.

Hollande said that the differences between Russia and France's positions had narrowed and that progress had been made.

“We have progressed,” Hollande said in a press conference in Moscow, reported Bloomberg.

“We share the same objective, which is to prevent the breakup of the country and not allow terrorists to profit from the chaos.”

Putin said that Russia should listen to some of France's arguments and new proposals to end the nearly two-year conflict in Syria.

Both leaders did not elaborate on what was discussed.

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The Associated Press said it was a softening of Putin's hard stance on Syria and Russia's seemingly unshakeable support for Assad.

“We should listen to the opinion of our partners on some of the aspects of that difficult problem,” Putin told reporters.

“It seems to me that we would need to sit over a bottle of vodka — a bottle of good wine wouldn’t be enough — to sort things out. We would need to sit down and think it over.”

Hollande said he'd prefer port.

AFP said that it was Hollande's first trip to Russia since being elected President in May.

The news agency said the French president's goal was to lay out France's vision of a post-Assad Syria, while considering Russia's insistence that Syrians themselves decide their fate.