French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he wanted to see negotiations over the Syria crisis widened to include parties that could act as negotiators between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition rebels.
Hollande said after discussing the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and agreeing that Paris and Moscow both want to avoid Syria breaking apart, that a more open dialogue was the only way to start resolving the crisis.
"We have the same aim even if we differ on how to get there. We still differ, but we can find a common way," Hollande told a joint news conference with Putin.
"We want political dialogue. We think that this dialogue must find a new form so that it speaks to all parties," he said.
"We need to imagine a political dialogue that allows for the opposition to negotiate with a party it finds acceptable. We will see in the coming days how to make that happen."
Russia has been one of Assad's staunchest allies in the two-year crisis and, with China, has blocked three U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at mounting pressure on him to end the violence that began with a crackdown on opposition protests.
France, along with Washington, has sided with the Syrian opposition in seeking Assad's removal from power.
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