France will strike if evidence of chemical weapon use appears in Syria: Macron

resident Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that "France will strike" if chemical weapons are used against civilians in the Syria. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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France will strike if evidence of chemical weapon use appears in Syria: Macron

PARIS: France will launch strikes if proof emerges that the Syrian regime has used banned chemical weapons against its civilians, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.
“We will strike the place where these launches are made or where they are organized,” Macron told the presidential press corps.
“But today our services have not established proof that proscribed chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations,” he added.
“As soon as such proof is established, I will do what I said,” Macron warned, while adding that “the priority is the fight against the terrorists, the jihadists.”
Regarding the Syrian regime itself, either during or after the conflict; “it will be answerable to international justice” he added.
Macron also called for an international meeting on Syria, in the region if possible.
In a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Macron said he was “worried about indications suggesting the possible use of chlorine on several occasions against the civilian population in Syria these last few weeks.”
Russia has intervened alongside Syrian regime forces in the seven-year civil war and Putin is seen as the foreign leader with the most influence over Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Receiving Putin at Versailles in May 2017, Macron had declared that France would respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“A very clear red line exists on our side: the use of chemical weapons by anyone,” Macron said, promising “retaliation and an immediate response from France.”
According to Washington, at least six chlorine attacks have been reported since early January in rebel areas, with dozens injured.
The Syrian government in late January denied carrying out chemical weapons attacks and its ally Moscow denounced the charges as a “propaganda campaign,” stressing that the perpetrators had not been identified.
While France, like the United States, suspects the Syrian regime, it says it does not yet have concrete evidence on the nature and origin of the attacks.
On Wednesday last week, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said “all indications” suggest that Assad’s forces were using chlorine weapons in the civil war against rebel forces, but being cautious said “we haven’t completely documented this.”
But Defense Minister Florence Parly was more reserved on Friday when asked if Damascus had crossed the “red line.”
“At the moment because we don’t know what happened and the consequences of what happened, we can’t say we are where you say we are,” she told France Inter radio when asked about the “red line” Macron had set out in May.
“We have some indications of the use of chlorine, but we do not have absolute confirmation, so it is this confirmation work that we are doing with others because obviously we have to establish the facts,” she said.
Damascus has repeatedly been accused of using chemical weapons, with the United Nations among those blaming government forces for an April 2017 sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun that left scores dead.
 


Sudan appoints new peace envoy to S.Sudan

Updated 17 October 2018
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Sudan appoints new peace envoy to S.Sudan

  • Jamal Al-Sheikh was put in charge of “following the implementation” of the peace deal signed last month by warring South Sudanese parties
  • Civil war in the world’s youngest country erupted in December 2013, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir on Wednesday appointed a peace envoy to South Sudan, mired in conflict since it won independence from its northern neighbor in 2011.
Former ambassador to Juba, Jamal Al-Sheikh, was put in charge of “following the implementation” of the peace deal signed last month by warring South Sudanese parties, Bashir told a gathering of Sudanese diplomats.
“Peace in Sudan cannot be separated from peace in the region, and achieving peace in South Sudan is a big step toward a comprehensive peace,” he said.
Civil war in the world’s youngest country erupted in December 2013, killing tens of thousands, displacing millions and triggering a regional refugee crisis.
South Sudanese arch-foes President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar signed their latest peace deal on September 12 in Ethiopia after talks hosted by Khartoum.
South Sudan gained independence under a peace deal ending a 22-year civil war pitting rebel groups against Khartoum.
But the Darfur region and the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, close to oil-rich South Sudan, have continued to see deadly conflict pitting rebel groups against the Sudanese government.
Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting insurgents against it.
A US-funded survey released recently estimated that nearly 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in South Sudan.