The Latest: Hollande renews call for removing Assad
Oct. 21, 2015
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The latest developments about Syria (all times local).
French President Francois Hollande says he hopes that the surprise meeting in Moscow between Presidents Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin was aimed at convincing the Syrian leader to step aside.
Speaking Wednesday in Paris, Hollande the French leader said he "wants to believe" that encouraging a political transition in Syria was the point of the two leaders' meeting.
Hollande said Russia's military action in Syria "only makes sense if it is against ISIS and allows the start of a political transition." Hollande was using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.
Russia's foreign ministry says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have agreed to meet in Vienna with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss the Syria crisis.
The statement released on Wednesday comes after Syrian President Bashar Assad went on a surprise visit to Moscow and met President Vladimir Putin.
Russia began carrying out airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria last month to support Assad's troops.