October 23, 2015 / 10:32 AM / 4 years ago

Assad is problem, not solution in Syria, France's Hollande says

French President Francois Hollande gestures during his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (not pictured) at the office in Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Kolesidis/Pool

ATHENS (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the problem and not the solution where the crisis in Syria is concerned, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

“We need to work to find a political solution,” Hollande said during a visit to Athens. “Bashar al-Assad is not the solution, he is the problem.”

Hollande was speaking at a news conference alongside Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

European Union heads of state have been critical of Russia’s military intervention in the civil war that has killed 250,000 people in Syria, but have failed to agree among themselves on whether Assad should have any role in ending the crisis. France has repeatedly said Assad should not be involved in any talks.

Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Catherine Evans

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