French Press Review: MPs differ on Syria strike


French newspapers on Wednesday focused on the Syrian crisis, with Le Monde saying Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Western powers to present convincing evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria to the UN Security Council. It quoted the Russian premier as saying, “Moscow would react decisively if it was proven who was behind the crime.”

The French paper claimed that since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, Russia used its veto as a permanent member of the Security Council three times to block draft resolutions that would have condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Le Figaro confirmed a debate will be held in Parliament Wednesday afternoon to discuss a possible intervention by France in Syria.

Deputies and senators are increasingly divided despite repeated requests by some opposition leaders.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will address the National Assembly, along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, who will speak to the Senate.

This formal debate will probably be a mutual muscle-flexing exercise between supporters and opponents of a “punishment” to the Assad regime, according to the term used by the head of the French state.

The majority of French people said they were in support of putting potential military intervention in Syria to a parliamentary vote. The French parliament will hold an emergency session on the Syrian crisis today, but are only planning for a debate.

Le Monde published an article by Hubert Vedrine, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which he said that even before the use of chemical weapons, “the Syrian civil war cannot be reduced only in the torment of a people by a dictator, but also it put Westerners in a vicious contradiction.”

“In Syria, it is the credibility of the West which is at stake,” said Vedrine. The former minister also criticized the decline of the United States Britain, and even France itself, over intervening in Syria. The United States, Britain and France were ready to intervene without a Security Council resolution, he said.

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