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Hollande hopes for rapid 'political solution' on Syria

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday on a visit to Moscow that he believed it would be possible to come to a political decision on the Syrian conflict in the coming weeks.

"I think that in the next few weeks we will manage to find a political solution that will stop the conflict from escalating," Hollande told Echo of Moscow radio station in comments translated into Russian.

"A lot will depend on the position of President Putin and on our position too, of course. We must finally start the process of political dialogue that has not yet started on the territory of Syria," Hollande said.

Hollande said that he intended to discuss the political transition in Syria and the need for President Bashar al-Assad to step down when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday afternoon.

Hollande reaffirmed that France, like other Western powers, was calling for Assad to step down, while Russia's position is that only Syrians must decide the fate of their country.

"We understand very well that the Syrian opposition is growing and it is becoming more legitimate, it is taking on itself some of the responsibility for the future of the country," Hollande said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130228/hollande-hopes-rapid-political-solution-syria