(Adds French foreign minister, diplomat)
MOSCOW/PARIS Oct 6 France's foreign minister
said on Thursday his priority was to put an end to the
"massacres" in Aleppo rather than focusing on whether Russian
President Vladimir Putin would visit Paris later this month.
Russian news agencies quoted Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov as saying ahead of his meeting with Jean-Marc
Ayrault on Thursday that Putin would visit Paris on Oct. 19 to
discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine with his French
counterpart Francois Hollande.
However, while Lavrov later said they had discussed this
during their meeting, Ayrault sought to sow some doubt on the
When asked by reporters to confirm Putin's visit to the
French capital, Ayrault said:
"The urgency today is the cessation of hostilities and to
end the massacres in Aleppo," he told reporters after a news
conference with Lavrov.
A French diplomatic source added that the date had never
been confirmed and that Paris wanted to see how things developed
in Aleppo, but also in Ukraine where Moscow was "toughening its
(Reporting by Christian Lowe and John Irish; editing by Michel