Hollande to meet with Putin to discuss anti-IS coalition
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his French counterpart Francois Hollande today to discuss the creation of a new coalition against the Islamic State terrorist group.
"During the talks the two leaders will discuss coordination of efforts to rebuff the Islamic State terrorist group and a number of other topical issues on the international agenda. They are expected to exchange views on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations," the Kremlin press service said.
The presidents agreed to meet in a telephone conversation after the terrorist attacks in Paris. After a telephone conversation with Hollande, Putin issued orders to the command of the cruiser 'Moskva' to establish direct contact with the French aircraft carrier 'Charles de Gaulle' and cooperate with them as with allies.
On the eve of his meeting with Putin, Hollande has already managed to speak with the UK prime minister, the US president and the German chancellor.
The editor-in-chief of 'National Defense' magazine, Igor Korotchenko, told a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that now the issue is not about a broad international coalition, but about bilateral cooperation between Russia and France in the fight against IS. "I think there are all the conditions for Russia and France to agree on how they will address the issue of strikes against IS in Syria. Politically, we have no differences, it is about a practical mechanism. And this mechanism will be found and implemented," he said.
"In this case we are talking about the fact that Hollande and Putin will negotiate, and the most important thing is that it is possible to start the mechanism of fighting together against IS in Syria. This means that Putin and Hollande will solve all the necessary questions for the joint combat operation to destroy the terrorists. In this case, other countries do not take part," Igor Korotchenko stressed.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, also believes that "Russia and France are interested in joint actions against Islamic State. "I think that we will agree. Moreover, there are signals that the French aircraft carrier 'Charles de Gaulle' and the Russian cruiser 'Moskva' have already interacted in some moments in the Mediterranean Sea," he said.
According to the expert, the parties "will delimit the zones of strikes by French pilots, Russian aviators and mariners." "Interaction at headquarters level is also possible," he said.
Litovkin expressed doubt that the US would agree to join the coalition. "But I think that Francois Hollande will not insist on the resignation of President Bashar Assad, so this matter will be left for the post-war political structure of Syria, for the decision of the Syrian people. I think that the terrorist attacks in Paris and the deaths of the Russian passengers over Sinai are objectively bringing together Russia and France for joint actions against the terrorists," the expert believes.
"Iraq and Iran have already taken part in operations against the terrorists in cooperation with Russia, and Jordan will join soon. So I think quite a promising coalition can be built," Viktor Litovkin summed up.