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France

Hollande hosts two dinners to keep Obama and Putin apart

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-04

French President François Hollande should be building a healthy appetite ahead of Thursday when he is due to have one dinner with US President Barack Obama, followed immediately by a second with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Obama will be in France to mark Friday’s 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which heralded the start of the liberation of France and Western Europe from the clutches of the Nazi occupiers.

But he is not the only head of state paying a visit to Paris before heading north to Normandy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose aggressive policies in Ukraine have caused the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, is also on the D-Day guest list and pencilled in for a gourmet treat with Hollande.

According to the Elysée Palace, Hollande will dine with Obama at an undisclosed Paris restaurant at 7pm, and then squeeze in a "souper" (light dinner) at the Elysée with Putin two hours later.

Hollande is likely to have a double dose of the same thorny topic at both meals: the crisis in Ukraine where the new pro-West Kiev government is battling a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country.

Obama and Putin are not expected to cross paths until all invited leaders gather for lunch on Friday in Normandy at the Benouville chateau followed by the D-Day ceremonies at Ouistreham.

Date created : 2014-06-04

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