Merkel, Hollande to meet Putin regarding Syria and Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that no options could be taken off the table regarding Syria, ahead of scheduled talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Merkel said she and French President Francois Hollande would discuss Syria with Putin after they meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenki in Berlin, to discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace plan to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The German Chancellor said the priority was to somehow-reduce the people’s suffering in Syria. Nevertheless, the German leader stopping short of voicing any hope of reaching an understanding with Moscow.

“Of course we, the French president and myself, will use the opportunity the meeting gives us to talk to the Russian president about the situation in Syria. I already held extensive discussions at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, as did the French president. The humanitarian situation there (Syria) has become even more catastrophic and this has clearly been caused by Syrian and Russian bombardments on helpless people, hospitals, doctors and of course we will bring this up. I am of the opinion that in light of the situation we can’t rule out any options on Syria – including sanctions. The top priority is to somehow reduce the people’s suffering and that will be on the table tomorrow, even though we are also not expecting any wonders here either. But it is always necessary to have the discussion, even if our opinions are very far apart,” said Merkel.