World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday cancelled a visit to France in a furious row over Moscow's role in the Syrian conflict.
Putin had been due in Paris on October 19 to inaugurate a spiritual centre at a new Russian Orthodox church near the Eiffel Tower, but Hollande had insisted his Russian counterpart also took part in talks with him about Syria.
Russia has been waging a punishing aerial bombing campaign in Syria for more than a year in support of President Bashar al-Assad's forces, part of a multi-front war that has claimed some 300,000 lives and seen Moscow further estranged from the West.
The French president had admitted he was agonising over whether to meet Putin, but the Kremlin on Tuesday called off the visit.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was "ready to visit when it is comfortable for President Hollande", adding that Moscow would "wait for when that comfortable time comes".
Hollande responded that he was prepared to meet Putin "at any time... to further peace".
Speaking in Strasbourg, Hollande said France and Russia had had a "major disagreement" over Syria.
"It is necessary to have dialogue with Russia but it must be firm and frank," Hollande told the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe rights body.
On Saturday, Russia blocked a draft French UN resolution calling for an end to the barrage of air strikes on the rebel-held east of Aleppo that have escalated in the last month, leaving hundreds of people dead, including dozens of children.
It was the fifth time that Russia used its veto to block UN action to end the five-year war in Syria that has sent millions fleeing and triggered the biggest migration crisis in Europe since World War II.
Last Mod: 11 Ekim 2016, 17:48