Category Archives: France

Syrian ‘Rebels’ wearing uniforms supplied by France, execute unarmed prisoner in cold blood

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Former French Foreign Minister: The War against Syria was Planned Two years before “The Arab Spring”

UK and France plan to arm Syrian rebels despite opposition from EU, Russia and Amnesty International

The UK and France, acting on Obama’s orders, have deliberately spoiled any chance of an agreement with EU partners on renewal of current EU embargo on arms to Syria. This means that when the EU embargo ends (1st June) each EU country will be free to pursue its own course of action regarding sending arms to Syrian rebels and of course, in the case of the UK and France, we know what that means. All EU other EU countries and Russia, as well as bodes such as Amnesty International, oppose arming the Syrian rebels on the grounds that it can only reduce the chances of a successful political solution and increase the violence and suffering for innocent civilians

US pushes Europe to amend arms embargo on Syrian rebels)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/22/syria-arms-embargo-rebels

Syria Rebels ‘Committing War Crimes’, Amnesty Urges Caution Over Arming Opposition

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/13/syria-opposition-war-crimes-amnesty-rebels_n_2867000.html

Russia says EU lifting Syria embargo hurts chances for peace

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-28/218612-russia-says-eu-lifting-syria-embargo-hurts-chances-for-peace.ashx

EU failure will allow UK, France to arm Syrian rebels

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/us-syria-crisis-eu-idUSBRE94Q09320130527

Reuters) – Britain and France are free to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad from August, after attempts to renew an EU arms embargo on Syria failed on Monday.

After a marathon negotiating session in Brussels, EU governments failed to bridge their differences and let a ban on arming the opposition expire, with France and Britain scoring a victory at the expense of EU unity.

Britain and France have made a commitment not to deliver arms to the Syrian opposition “at this stage,” an EU declaration said. But EU officials said the commitment effectively expires on August 1.

The refusal of London and Paris to go along with the arms embargo could have caused the collapse of all EU sanctions against Syria, embarrassing the EU and handing a victory to Assad. EU ministers managed to avert that by agreeing to reinstate all of the restrictions except for the arms embargo on the rebels.

EU sanctions on Syria that will remain in place include asset freezes and travel bans on Assad and senior Syrian officials, as well as curbs on trade, infrastructure projects and the transport sector.

London and Paris have argued for months that Europe must send a strong signal of support for rebels fighting Assad by allowing EU arms deliveries, even though they say they have not decided yet to actually supply arms.

But they ran into strong opposition from other EU governments, led by Austria and Sweden, which argued that sending more weapons to the region would increase violence and spread instability.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the EU meeting had effectively ended the EU’s arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.

“While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate,” Hague told reporters.

SWAYING THE CONFLICT

London and Paris were seeking to increase the opposition’s leverage in planned U.S. and Russian co-sponsored peace talks expected next month by raising the prospect they could supply arms to the rebels if the political process made no headway.

The debate has gained urgency because of military gains by Assad’s troops and allegations of chemical weapons use.

French newspaper Le Monde published first-hand accounts on Monday of Syrian forces loyal to Assad having repeatedly used chemical weapons against rebel fighters in Damascus.

But while a number of member states softened their opposition to amending the EU arms embargo and said they could back a compromise, Britain was unyielding in the talks, diplomats said.

“The British didn’t give an inch,” one diplomat said.

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said he regretted it had not been possible to find a compromise with Britain and France.

Spindelegger said the Austrian government would now discuss what to do about its 380 soldiers patrolling the U.N. ceasefire line on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria. Vienna has said in the past it might have to pull them out if the arms embargo was eased.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, sought to repair any damage to the bloc’s image, saying Monday’s decision did not mean the EU has lost the capacity to “have a common policy.”

“What it does mean is there is a recognition that in trying to establish how best to support the people of Syria, countries will want to make some decisions (on their own),” she told reporters.

Even if Britain and France decide to supply arms to the rebels, they will have to authorize any shipments on a case-by-case basis and follow safeguards to ensure no equipment lands in the wrong hands.

(Additional reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, Claire Davenport, Rex Merrifield in Brussels, Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Bill Trott)

Syria peace talks ‘unlikely in May’: Russia source

A high-ranking Russian diplomatic source said on Saturday it is highly unlikely that a proposed international peace conference on Syria could be held this month because of differences over who should take part.

“It is unlikely before the end of May,” said the source who participated in talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday.

“This is a very complicated matter,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. “It’s unrealistic to set some kind of a tight timeframe.”

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry offered to hold a new international conference in search of peace in Syria after 26 months of deadly conflict.

The source said Putin and Cameron had discussed “a number of preparatory concrete steps on the way to convening some kind of format”.

“It is too early to say whether it will be a conference or something else,” the diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

“There are too many differences: who can take part in this format, who is legitimate, who is not legitimate.

“It is obvious that this cannot be done without representatives from the opposition but the question is, what opposition,” he said, arguing that the opposition in Syria was not united and therefore could not speak with one voice.

http://www.france24.com/en/20130511-syria-peace-talks-unlikely-may-russia-source

France bombs Mali ‘rebels’ with support from the UK – by what authority? In whose name?

 

French fighter jets bombed Islamist rebels in Mali for a third day on Sunday as Paris poured more troops into the capital Bamako, awaiting the arrival of a West African force to dislodge al Qaeda-linked insurgents from the country’s north.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France‘s dramatic intervention on Friday to bomb a convoy of heavily armed Islamist fighters sweeping southwards had stopped them from seizing Mali’s capital Bamako within days.

Western countries fear Islamists could use Mali as a base for attacks on the West, forming a link with al Qaeda militants in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.

Le Drian said former colonial power France was carrying out continuous bombing raids against the alliance of rebel groups, which seized the country’s vast desert north in April.

“There are raids going on now: there were some last night, and there will be more tomorrow,” Le Drian told French television. “The president is totally determined that we must eradicate these terrorists who threaten the security of Mali, our own country and Europe.”

Residents said French aircraft bombed the northern town of Gao, and a Malian rebel spokesman said they bombed targets in the towns of Lere and Douentza.

Le Drian said France was deploying a further contingent of 80 soldiers to Mali on Sunday, bring the total to 550 soldiers , split between Bamako and the town of Mopti, some 500 km (300 miles) north. State-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets would be dispatched to reinforce the operation on Sunday, he said.

A Reuters cameraman reported seeing on Sunday more than 100 French troops disembarking from a military cargo plane at Bamako airport, just on the outskirts of the capital.

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