Russian envoy says Putin wants to talk tough issues in Paris visit
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Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan (not pictured) following their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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PARIS (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin still wants to come to Paris next week to discuss the tough issues, his country's ambassador to France said on Tuesday as relations between the two countries deteriorate over the Syrian war.
French officials are grappling for ways to put new pressure on Russia after Moscow vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. Their growing anger at events in the rebel-held areas of Aleppo have led them to reconsider whether to host Putin on Oct. 19.
"Of course he still wants to come to Paris," Alexander Orlov told Europe 1 radio. "I think dialogue needs to continue and we are here to talk especially in difficult moments.
"You're elected president precisely to find solutions to difficult problems. Vladimir Putin will come to discuss the subjects that cause anger."
President Francois Hollande said at the weekend he was unsure whether it was useful or necessary to see Putin. The Russian leader was scheduled to come to Paris to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox cathedral and visit a Russian art exhibition in the French capital.
Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday there would be no point meeting Putin just for pleasantries, although he indicated the two leaders may meet in Berlin on the same day for a summit to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Leigh Thomas)
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