Fillon Calls for Talks With Russia After French Terrorist Attack

(Bloomberg) -- French presidential candidate Francois Fillon called for an alliance with anyone willing to tackle terror, including Russia, after Paris suffered another attack late Thursday.

“We must have a global coalition to fight all these totalitarian movements that create this violence,” Fillon said, adding that the existing coalition is divided with the Western nations on one side and Russia on the other. “We are just fighting for our respective fiefdoms” in the Middle East. Fillon spoke on France 2 TV alongside the 10 other candidates in France’s presidential election.

The 63-year-old Fillon is one of four candidates who polls suggest is capable of qualifying for the runoff vote after voters cast their ballots in the first round on Sunday. After the attack late Thursday Champs Elysees avenue killed one policeman and seriously injured two others, the candidate said the next president must make the fight against terrorism an “absolute priority.” And that means drawing closer to Russia, in his view.

“If we don’t to talk with Russia, it means that at some point we will enter in a conflict with Russia, that we could have a confrontation with Russia,” Fillon said. “They have one of the greatest nuclear arsenals on earth. It would be against our interest to let a conflict start.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will remain in power as long as he has the backing of Russia so “we must accept a compromise,” Fillon said. “Western nations are no longer masters of the game” and the role of Russia is “fundamental,” he added.

Fillon called for a halt to campaigning after the shooting in Paris.