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Sep 17, 2013

Syria: A chemical crime, a complex reaction

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In early spring France’s ambassador to the United Nations dined with a Russian colleague and discussed the crisis in Syria.

Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Russian diplomat France was going to go public with proof from its intelligence services that Syria’s government was using chemical weapons against its own people. The Russian diplomat laughed, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “Gerard,” he told his counterpart, “don’t embarrass the Americans.”

Sep 17, 2013

Special Report: Syria – A chemical crime, a complex reaction

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In early spring France’s ambassador to the United Nations dined with a Russian colleague and discussed the crisis in Syria.

Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Russian diplomat France was going to go public with proof from its intelligence services that Syria’s government was using chemical weapons against its own people. The Russian diplomat laughed, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “Gerard,” he told his counterpart, “don’t embarrass the Americans.”

Sep 16, 2013

Western powers say Syria must face consequences for non-compliance

PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) – France, Britain and the United
States called on Monday for a swift U.N. resolution committing
Syria to remove its chemical weapons, but Russia introduced a
note of caution about imposing strong consequences if President
Bashar al-Assad failed to comply.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed that an
accord reached at the weekend with Russian counterpart Sergei
Lavrov targeted a U.N. resolution referring to sanctions for
non-compliance, including a new Security Council resolution.

Sep 13, 2013

France says chemical regulator ‘insufficient’ for Syria arms control

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Friday that a binding U.N. Security Council resolution was needed to police Syria’s promise to give up its chemical weapons, insisting that the matter could not be left to an international watchdog.

Syria applied on Thursday to sign up to the global treaty banning chemical weapons, a major first step in a Russian-backed plan that would see it give up its stocks of poison gas to avert U.S. military strikes.

Sep 12, 2013

France says West must not be fooled by proposed Syria deal

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Thursday it would be clear next week whether a Russian proposal to control Syria’s chemical weapons was credible, but warned of a risk of being fooled if Western allies do not stick to their demands.

France, one of Assad’s fiercest critics, proposed a tough U.N. resolution on Tuesday a day after a surprise proposal by Russia that its Syrian ally hand over its chemical arms stocks, a move that could avert possible U.S.-led military strikes.

Sep 10, 2013

Syria prompts Europe to question U.S. leadership will

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States’ uncertainty over how to respond to a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria has left close European allies wondering whether Washington remains ready to play the world leadership role it has long assumed.

Yet while the hesitations are creating political headaches for governments in Britain and France that advocated strikes, less interventionist capitals including Berlin are relieved to be dealing with a less hawkish U.S. administration than those which pushed the case for war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sep 10, 2013

Syria backs chemical weapons plan, bombs Damascus

PARIS/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria accepted a Russian proposal on Tuesday to give up chemical weapons and win a reprieve from U.S. strikes, while its warplanes bombed rebel positions in Damascus for the first time since the West threatened military action.

The Russian diplomatic initiative, which apparently emerged from off-the-cuff remarks by the U.S. secretary of state, marks a sudden reversal after weeks in which the West appeared finally headed towards intervention in a two-and-a-half year old war.

Sep 10, 2013

Syria backs chemical weapons plan, planes bomb Damascus

PARIS/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria accepted a Russian proposal on Tuesday to give up chemical weapons and win a reprieve from U.S. strikes, while its warplanes bombed rebel positions in Damascus for the first time since the West threatened military action.

The Russian diplomatic initiative, which apparently emerged from off-the-cuff remarks by the U.S. secretary of state, marks a sudden reversal after weeks in which the West appeared finally headed towards intervention in a two-and-a-half year old war.

Sep 10, 2013

France pushes for tough U.N. resolution on Syria

PARIS (Reuters) – France sought to seize the diplomatic initiative on Syria on Tuesday, saying it would push for a U.N. resolution setting out terms for the destruction of its chemical weapons and warning of “serious consequences” if it resisted.

The announcement by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius came a day after a surprise proposal by Russia that its Syrian ally hand over its chemical weapons stocks, a move that could avert possible U.S.-led military strikes.

Sep 8, 2013

Kerry delivers a love letter to France, in French

PARIS (Reuters) – French, it is said, is the language of love.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flaunted his fluency in the language on Saturday to deliver something of a love letter to France, one of the few world powers that seems likely to join the United States in any military action against Syria.

Following the British parliament’s August 29 vote to reject any British use of force against Syria, which the United States accuses of gassing its own people with sarin, France has made no secret of its desire to play Washington’s supporting partner.