Russian President Vladimir Putin received a message from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, mainly focusing on the Syrian crisis.
The French government’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, conveyed Macron’s message on Syria during a meeting on Wednesday with the chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee.
In remarks to RIA Novosti, Chevenement said the message was about Syria in particular, as “France seeks to play a more influential role in the Syrian settlement.”
Macron has adopted certain stances in preparation for cooperation with Russia on the Syrian issue, saying in previous comments that the departure of Bashar al-Assad was no longer a condition for France, as the focus must be on countering terrorism.
Meanwhile, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said that Moscow was ready to hold a substantive meeting between Putin and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam on Nov. 11-12.
He noted that the two leaders would take part in the summit, and “it is logical that they can meet and discuss certain issues”, adding: “We are ready to hold a separate substantive bilateral meeting.”
Putin will also discuss the Syrian settlement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on November 13, Ushakov said.
“The next international event (after the Trump meeting in Vietnam) will be on November 13, when Russian and Turkish presidents will discuss all areas of bilateral relations, and in the second part will tackle the issue of the Syrian settlement.”
“Talks will be mainly devoted to these issues,” he added.
Meanwhile, disagreements persevered between the permanent members of the Security Council over the results of a report on the chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
Head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM) said on Thursday that ISIS was responsible for using sulfur mustard in a September 2016 attack in Umm Hawsh, and the Syrian Government was accountable for the release of Sarin gas in an April 2017 attack in Khan Sheykhoun.
“There has been sufficient evidence of a credible and reliable nature to make its findings,” said Edmond Mulet, during a briefing on the entity’s latest findings, released on October 26.
In Moscow, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said his country could not keep silent about attempts to use the joint investigation mechanism as a tool to increase pressure on Damascus. He stressed the need to modify the JIM work mechanisms.