France calls for 'complete halt' to Syria arms sales
France calls for a complete halt to arms sales to Syria.
PARIS - France on Wednesday called for a complete halt to arms sales to Syria amid growing Western criticism of Russian weapons exports to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"We are calling for a complete halt to arms exports to the Syrian regime as asked by joint United Nations-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan before the Security Council last week," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday accused Russia of recently sending a shipment of attack helicopters to Syria. Russia has always argued that it was only supplying Syria with weapons such as air defence systems that could not be used against civilians in the regime's 15-month standoff with the armed opposition.
Valero said Paris gives its "full support and scrupulous respect to the total arms embargo against Syria imposed by Europe." He also said there was no way that French-sold arms were making their way to the regime.
"On this subject our doctrine is clear: When France sells arms it watches to make sure they cannot be turned against (a country's) people." Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was to hold a press conference on Syria Wednesday at 1330 GMT.