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French Socialist MP dubs EU's Ashton hopeless on Syria

media François Loncle is interviewed for RFI in French RFI

A leading French Socialist has dubbed European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton “hopeless” and accused her of doing “absolutely nothing” about the conflict in Syria. And Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on a visit to Lebanon predicted more “spectacular” defections from Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Speaking to RFI, Socialist MP François Loncle, who is a member of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee, said that France could no put pressure on Russia to distance itself from Assad alone, as right-wing former prime minister François Fillon has suggested.

“In this light we can see, one again, the feebleness of European diplomacy, the hopelessness of Catherine Ashton, who never says anything and does absolutely nothing,” he said.

France, on the other hand, is “doing exactly what it should”, he claimed.

While visiting Beirut on Thursday, Fabius told the AFP news agency that “there will be other spectacular defections”, following those of Assad’s prime minister Riad Hijab and general Manaf Tlass, a childhood friend of the president and aide to his father Hafez.

French strategists are reported to have pinned their hopes on Tlass, who is now in France and has declared that he hopes to unite the fractured Syrian opposition.

More than 2,200 Syrians, including a general, fled to Turkey on Thursday, a Turkish diplomat told AFP on Friday, as fighting continued in Damascus and Aleppo.


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