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French President Francois Hollande is in Moscow today where he hopes to discuss the Syrian crisis with President Vladimir Putin.
Hollande told Russian media that he believes Putin’s position on Syria is a critical factor in ending the two-year civil war which has killed more than 70,000 people.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Arab League head Nabil Elaraby agreed in Moscow last week that there were encouraging signs of possible talks between the two warring parties.
Elaraby was in Moscow at the head of an Arab delegation including Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon and Egypt
“There are signs of positive tendencies, signs of tendencies for dialogue both from the side of the government and the opposition,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference.
Russia and China have consistently vetoed UN Security Council measures drafted by the US and France to punish Syria saying supporting and arming the rebel groups would only worsen the violence.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, urged more logistical and materiel support to the Free Syrian Army and the main Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group.
The US and the EU recognise the SNC as the sole representative of the Syrian people, while the Arab League has refrained from such a step.
Russia and China say they welcome talks from both sides.
“I think that in the next few weeks we will manage to find a political solution that will stop the conflict escalating,” Hollande told Russian media ahead of his meeting with Putin.
The French President is also likely to discuss bilateral trade in attempts to boost Russian investments in France, which has struggled during the eurozone economic downturn.
Human rights, political dissent and the situation in Mali will also be on the agenda.