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France rules out Assad as partner in fight against terrorism, cites Libya as next crisis

French President Francois Hollande has ruled out an international partnership with Syria's leader to fight against the Islamic State group, saying any alliance with Bashar Assad would play into the militants' hands.

In a wide-ranging speech Thursday to international ambassadors, Hollande said France would call an international conference to address the threat of Islamic State militants and said a broad alliance was needed.

He said: "But I want to make sure things are clear: Bashar Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism. That would be the goal of the jihadists. You cannot choose between two barbarities, because they feed on each other."

Hollande also says he views Libya as the next crucial front for terrorism, saying a militant group was forming amid the country's fall into chaos.

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