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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La France traîne les pieds mais la diplomatie avance

by Pierre Barbancey

France is Dragging Her Feet, But Diplomacy Advances

Translated Tuesday 24 September 2013, by Henry Crapo

The UN experts confirm the use of chemical weapons but did not comment on the origin of attacks. Fabius is still playing aggressive, with the risk of creating a blockage in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

"Based on the evidence gathered during the investigation into the incident in Ghouta, the conclusion is that chemical weapons were used in the ongoing conflict between the various parties in Syria (...) against civilians including children, on a relatively large scale. Samples we have collected on site, both chemical and medical, provide clear and convincing evidence, in particular, that ground-ground missiles containing sarin nerve agent were used." These are the first findings of UN experts whose report was presented, yesterday, to the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki -moon.

Only Laurent Fabius seeks confrontation

A report without surprise indeed because their mandate does not allow them to identify the authors of this chemical attack. Their mandate, but also the difficulties on the ground. Ground-ground missiles could be used not only by the Syrian army but also by rebel groups known to have seized significant military equipment during the capture of several barracks. Only Laurent Fabius is sticking to his guns and is seeking confrontation. Difficult under these conditions for France to register a full-fledged indictment against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the draft resolution it intends to submit to its Western allies. At a meeting yesterday in Paris, French, British and Americans tried to come to an agreement after the agreement signed in Geneva between John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov. John Kerry and William Hague have both insisted that there would be "consequences" if Damascus fails to meet its new obligations, Laurent Fabius went so far as to evoke "serious consequences."

But Russia has warned against a resolution threatening Syria, which would not, in their opinion, be in accord with the Geneva Agreement. "I’m confident that despite all the statements emanating from some European capitals, the U.S. side will stick strictly to what was agreed, as a reliable partner," said the Russian Foreign Minister . "If someone wants to threaten, and seeks excuses for strikes, it is a way of suggesting to the opposition to the regime that one expects them to create new provocations; it is a choice of direction that can permanently undermine the aims of the Geneva 2 peace conference." He also noted that, contrary to what has been said, the text of the Russian-American agreement does not include any reference to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of force. "With regard to the statements of some of our partners on what is needed to be adopted in an emergency, I even heard before the end of the week of a resolution under Chapter VII. This, first of all, shows a misunderstanding of what we agreed with John Kerry, and even to his refusal to read this document," he has said.

Remarks addressed to François Hollande.

The French president, no doubt aware of the failure of his manoeuvre and of the dangers of isolation on the international level, as well as with respect to public opinion, finally evokes the need for a political solution, one, however, considering Bashar al Assad to be "not representative of Syria", and insisting that "he must go" in the settlement of the conflict. The Islamist threat - denounced everywhere, with the djihadists becoming more and more powerful in Syria - seems - finally - the chief concern of the state [1]. The political agreement should ensure that "those who will be responsible for the transition be democrats, because we are not going to install in power those whom we fought in Mali and some months earlier in Libya," he declared. "Let’s be careful not to install those we consider to be as dangerous as Bashar al-Assad, since both Bashar Al Assad and the djihadists are murderers." However, the strikes against the Syrian regime will only reinforce the djihadists. That is why arms supplies must stop on both sides .

Another UN investigation.

The United Nations is investigating 14 cases of alleged chemical attacks in Syria , announced yesterday. in Geneva
, the president of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Council
 on Human Rights of the UN, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro." We are investigating 14 cases of alleged use of chemical weapons or agents. But we have not established responsibilities or the nature of the materials used," he said. This commission was set up in September 2011. It has not so far been able to go to Syria, but works from testimony it tries to verify. Carla del Ponte, 
member of the commission, has been personally invited by Damascus, 
but the commission wants her to be accompanied by Pinheiro.

[1Translator’s opinion: This is a strange claim under present conditions in Syria. Indeed, the recent false-flag operations involving chemical weapons were launched precisely because the "rebel" forces were failing so badly, and in hopes of drawing the western nations into direct military action against the Syrian government, providing them with the needed excuses for "humanitarian intervention", as was the case in Libya.

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