June 1 - French President Francois Hollande says ending the bloodshed in Syria will require the departure of President Bashar al-Assad. Deborah Gembara reports.
Tension over Syria --- as the leaders of France and Russia met in Paris. French president Francois Hollande said he hoped to convince Moscow, a staunch ally of Syria, to back a Security Council resolution which includes sanctions on Damascus. SOUNDBITE French President Francois Hollande saying (French): "The regime of Bashar al-Assad has behaved in an unacceptable and intolerable manner and has committed acts which disqualify it. No solution to this situation is possible without the departure of Bashar al-Assad." Russian president Vladimir Putin said a regime change in Syria would not necessarily bring peace. He also said it was premature to call a ceasefire brokered by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan a failure. SOUNDBITE: Russian Presidnt Vladimir Putin saying (Russian): "Mr. Annan is a very experienced and respectable person, and we must do everything for his mission to succeed. I think it is counterproductive to announce his mission as a failure in advance. I think that would be a mistake." Outrage over last week's mass killings in Houala prompted France to join several other countries in expelling Syrian diplomats. Russia has so far backed Syrian government's assertion that anti-government forces were behind the attack. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.