Europe

France's presidential hopeful Macron pushes for Syria talks

French presidential candidate and former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, speaks during his meeting with Lebanese president Michel Aoun, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

French presidential candidate and former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, speaks during his meeting with Lebanese president Michel Aoun, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says his country needs a more "balanced" policy toward Syria.

During a visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, the 49-year-old centrist said he wants France to talk to "all parties," including the regime of President Bachar Assad.

Macron met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut.

He says a political solution to Syria's war must include "a credible and continuous way" to deal with the millions of refugees who have fled the country.

Lebanon, which has a population of about 4.5 million, is home to more than 1 million registered Syrian refugees.

Macron, a former economy minister, is considered one of the leading candidates for France's presidency. Other top contenders are conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.