Putin, Hollande, urge coalition against Islamic State

Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS


French President Francois Hollande told Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday world powers must create a “grand coalition” to combat Islamic State militants who control swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reports.

Hollande is on a diplomatic offensive to build a common front against the militant Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people.

Islamic State has also said it downed a Russian plane on Oct. 31 over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.

“Our enemy is Islamic State, it has territory, an army and resources, so we must create this large coalition to hit these terrorists,” Hollande said in televised remarks at the start of bilateral talks with the Russian leader in the Kremlin.

“I’m in Moscow with you to see how we can act together and coordinate so that we can strike this terrorist group, but also reach a solution for peace,” Hollande said.

Putin said Moscow was ready to unite with Paris against a “mutual enemy” following the downing of the Russian airliner and the attacks in Paris.

“You’re paying big attention and putting a lot of efforts into the emergence of a broad antiterrorist coalition,” he said at the start of his emergency summit with Hollande in the Kremlin, according to TASS.

“What’s more, we think this coalition is absolutely necessary and that’s where our positions are the same,” Putin said.

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