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France urges Russia to join peace push after Syria strike

France has continued to talk regularly with Russia even as East-West tensions have grown

Agencies | Reuters  |  Beirut 

Emmanuel Macron, France, French President

France is urging to join a push for a in after joint US, French and British attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites.

French Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview published Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that “we should join our efforts to promote a political process in that would allow a way out of the crisis.”

France has continued to talk regularly with even as East-West tensions have grown.

French spoke with Russian on Friday, hours before the Western missile strikes.

Western countries blamed Syria’s government for a on a rebel-held area earlier this month that killed more than 40 people. The Syrian government and its ally denied the allegations.

Chemical inspectors to begin work in Douma

Inspectors from the (OPCW) chemical watchdog will begin their investigation Sunday at the site of an alleged near Damascus, a senior official said.

“The fact-funding team arrived in Damascus on Saturday and is due to go to Douma on Sunday,” Deputy Ayman Soussan told AFP.

A delegation of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Hague, is tasked with investigating an April 7 attack on Douma, just east of Damascus.

Western powers say chemical substances, most likely chlorine and sarin, were used in the attack and killed at least 40 civilians.

The alleged attack, which Damascus and its Russian ally have denied ever happened, prompted an unprecedented wave of missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain yesterday.

Soussan reiterated a pledge by the Syrian government that the would be allow to investigate unimpeded.

"We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially and free of any pressure," he said.

No planned missile strikes yet: Britain

There are no plans as yet to repeat missile strikes on Syria, but Britain will consider further action if again uses chemical weapons against his people, said on Sunday.

In a show of support for Theresa May’s decision to join the US and France in attacking chemical weapons facilities in on Saturday, her one-time political rival Johnson said it was the right thing to do.

But the may not find such backing when she faces parliament on Monday, where some lawmakers are angry that May took military action without their approval - a process that has increasingly become a tradition in Britain.

Speaking to the BBC, Johnson said what he described as the successful strikes on three sites in Syria were a message from the world that enough was enough, but acknowledged he could not say whether Assad still had chemical weapons.


First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 03:24 IST