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For Syria Chem Weapons, Italian Port & Russian Trucks, France Gives Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 18 -- Many countries are helping or offering help to destroy chemical weapons from Syria, according to the statement of Ahmet Üzümcü of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons released this morning.

  Italy has offered a port for the transloading of chemicals from a Danish Norwegian vessel to a US ship. Of the other Permanent Five members of the Security Council, Russia will provide armored trucks and possibly security; China will provide cameras and ten ambulances.

  Even the UK is lists as among the financial contributors to the OPCW trust fund for the operation.

  The only P5 member not listed in any way in the OPCW statement, which even credits offers promised but not received, is France.

  Back on December 4, Inner City Press asked France's Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud, on camera, if France was contributing anything at all to the removal from Syria of chemical weapons, of which France had made so much.

Araud looked to his colleague by the side of the UN Security Council stakeout and mentioned "technical assistance" (he also cited "moral" support).

  No French technical assistance, much less moral support, is listed in the OPCW statement. For the OPCW trust fund, donors include the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and, yes, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  The OPCW also cites pledges from Finland and South Korea, "amounting to approximately EUR 750,000" and that the "Japanese Government has decided, subject to parliamentary approval, to contribute an amount of nearly USD 15 million, which will be shared between the OPCW and the United Nations."

  But from France, nothing. Perhaps its position on Syria is so focused on removing Assad and installing Ahmad al Jarba, who Araud was bragging about at the same stakeout even on December 17, that it doesn't care if chemical weapons are removed from Syria, or even prefers that they are not.

  Or perhaps it's that France is over-stretched propping up its once and again colonies in Africa, from Central African Republic (where it supported Bokasa and Bozize) to Mali, where it has signed itself a Letter of Assist for airfield support in the north, to receive UN money in an amount Araud refused to disclose when Inner City Press asked.

  One might conclude, while others are contributing to international efforts -- money, ships, ports, trucks and ambulances -- France is taking, and not even disclosing what it takes, through its fourth head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, Herve Ladsous. Sacre bleu! Watch this site.

Footnote / media critique: from the scribes whom France uses, for example at the UN, nothing may be heard about this glaring omission, the only one of the P5 not listed in the OPCW statement. Agence France Presse, largely funded by subscriptions from the French government, defends France to the extent of filing faux complaints leading with Ladsous being asked too-hard questions. Reuters at the UN spies and supplicates for leaks from these same French. It's all the fashion. We'll have more on this.


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