Hollande, Merkel express 'same will' to address migration crisis

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Paris, March 5: French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday showed united front to handle migration crisis after differences on how to curb migrants flows likely to strain ties between Europe's two leading powerhouses.

"Given the current migrants situation, France and Germany are united and wishing the answers will come through Europe which must be the one able to bring answers to this crisis," Hollande stressed after their meeting in Paris.

Angela Merkel

"France and Germany are working with the same spirit and the same will (on the crisis)," he added.

At a joint press meeting, Merkel said "together, we are convinced that unilateral solutions won't help us. It won't lead to a reduction in refugee numbers", Xinhua news agency reported.

"Our efforts are not done yet (to address migration crisis)," she added.

In 2015, Germany opened its borders to 1.1 million asylum seekers, most of them from Syria. Facing rampant migrants flows, Berlin asked for a permanent system to redistribute more refugees around Europe.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls considered Germany's liberal approach to treat migration crisis can not work in the long term.

As part of France's efforts to contribute in resolving the crisis, Hollande confirmed that France was sending a naval vessel to patrol the eastern Mediterranean to help NATO initiative to control the flow of migrants.

At the meeting, Hollande and Merkel also discussed the Syrian truce deal. Taking effect on February 27, the accord is widely considered as pillar stone to a peace dialogue and able to end fighting that forced thousands to flee to Europe, triggering the continent's worst migration crisis.

Over conference call with leaders from Britain, Italy and Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin "has expressed his willingness to make sure the ceasefire is respected and that there are no attacks on civilian targets", Hollande said.

"There is also a willingness, that I believe is sincere, to help the civilian population in this human drama," he told reporters, adding "we have a chance to make the situation as easier as possible for the Syrians and kick off a political dialogue to lead to transition".

German Chancellor said, for her turn, Putin confirmed Russia's commitment to a ceasefire.

"I would like to stress one more time that the commitment to hold the ceasefire was confirmed as a key message by the Russian President: only attacks on Daesh and al-Nusra Front," she noted.

During the call, the two leaders "ask Russia to use influence to make sure that this principle is also respected by Bashar-al Assad regime", she said.

"The political process must start as soon as possible as it's the main condition of a transition," she added.

An intra-Syrian talk was scheduled for March 9 in Geneva in a fresh diplomatic effort to stop four-year-long conflict in Syria.

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