World
France has 'information' Assad regime using chemical weapons: Hollande
Publish Date: Apr 20, 2014
France has 'information' Assad regime using chemical weapons: Hollande
French President Francois Hollande arrives to welcome the four French journalists taken hostage in Syria last year and freed, at the Villacoublay air base southwest of Paris on April 20, 2014. The journalists Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres had been captured in two separate incidents in June last year while covering the conflict in Syria. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

PARIS - France has "information" but no firm proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is still using chemical weapons, President Francois Hollande said Sunday.

"We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof," Hollande said in a radio interview after he was asked about reports that Assad was currently using chemical weapons.

"What I do know is what we have seen from this regime is the horrific methods it is capable of using and the rejection of any political transition," he told the Europe 1 radio station.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the same radio station there were "indications, which have yet to be verified, that there have been recent chemical attacks".

He said they were "much less significant than those in Damascus a few months ago but very deadly", and had taken place in the northwest of the country, near the Lebanese border.

A French source close to the matter told AFP that the reports "had come from different sources, including the Syrian opposition".

There are conflicting accounts about one attack that happened in the town of Kafr Zita in the central Hama province earlier in April, with both the government and the opposition accusing each other of being responsible.

Activists in the area accused the regime of using chlorine gas, saying it caused "more than 100 cases of suffocation".

Videos circulated by opposition activists on YouTube showed men and children in a field hospital coughing and showing symptoms of suffocation.

But state television blamed the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, a key force in Syria's three-year armed revolt, for the attack, which it said had lead to the death of two people and caused more than 100 to suffer from suffocation.

Under the terms of the US-Russia brokered deal reached last year, Syria has until the end of June to destroy its chemical weapon stockpile if it wants to ward off the threat of US air strikes.

The agreement was reached after a deadly chemical attack outside Damascus last August that the West blamed on Assad's regime.

Last week the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the global chemical watchdog, said Syria had surrendered almost two-thirds of its chemical weapons, including many priority chemicals.

Damascus had halted exports temporarily, citing security concerns, but restarted transfers earlier in April.

Speaking on April 14 after Syria had completed its latest shipment, the OPCW chief Ahmed Uzumcu said "both the frequency and the volumes of deliveries have to increase significantly" if the deadline was to be met.

Norwegian as well as Danish naval vessels are involved in the process of removing chemical materials from the port of Latakia in western Syria.

The most dangerous are being transferred to a US Navy vessel specially fitted with equipment to destroy the chemicals at sea.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck China's southwestern province of Sichuan on Saturday, with Chinese state media reporting one fatality....
Nigeria''s main opposition party warns against a plan to arrest parliamentary speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who quit the ruling party last month....
Moscow accuses West of seeking Russia
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the West of seeking to force a regime change in Russia through sanctions over the Ukraine conflict....
Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO
An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo....
Ousted Burkina president arrives in Morocco from Ivory Coast
Burkina Faso''s deposed president Blaise Compaore arrived in Morocco from Ivory Coast, where he has been in exile since his ouster in a popular revolt last month, the Moroccan foreign ministry announced early Friday....
Pop stars climb stairway to heaven early: Australian study
It's long been said that pop stars live fast and die young, but a new Australian study has added scholarly credibility to the adage, finding that US musicians die up to 25 years earlier than the general population....
Should workers be subjected to a 4% Health Insurance Tax??
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter