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Kerry talks with France about next steps toward boosting Syrian rebels, pressuring Iran

  • e6ad7ac90234b1072a0f6a7067005302.jpg

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is accompanied by France's President Francois Hollande after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Paris is the third leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip, a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)The Associated Press

  • cab64932021cb1072a0f6a706700f5f9.jpg

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is accompanied by France's President Francois Hollande after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Paris is the third leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip, a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)The Associated Press

  • 0f53d2f00223b1072a0f6a706700f548.jpg

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is accompanied by France's President Francois Hollande after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Paris is the third leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip, a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)The Associated Press

New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held his first official meeting with France's leadership amid increasing efforts by both countries to bolster Syria's opposition.

Kerry met Wednesday with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, chatting in French on the front steps of the Elysee Palace.

The war in Syria and Iran's nuclear program have topped the agenda of Kerry's tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Officials in the United States and Europe said Tuesday the U.S. administration is nearing a decision on whether to provide non-lethal assistance to carefully vetted fighters opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

France, Syria's onetime colonial ruler, is also seeking ways to provide more support for Syria's opposition coalition after two years of fighting Assad's government crackdown.