French President Hollande meets US-backed Syrian “opposition”

Antoine Lerougetel

François Hollande rencontre le président du Conseil national
syrien, Abdel Basset Sayda, le 6 juillet 2012 à Paris.

French Socialist Party (PS) President François Hollande met with the new UN mediator for Syria, Kofi Annan's replacement, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Monday, before discussions Tuesday with officials of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the political wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

After his interview with Lakhdar Brahimi, Hollande said that there could not be “any political solution [in Syria] without the removal from power of Bashar al-Assad.”

Hollande also met with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad ben Khalifa al-Thani, to discuss Syria. The emir provided vast funding and arms for the anti-Gaddafi forces in the NATO war to topple the Libyan government last year, and Qatar is again providing funding and weapons for US-backed Syrian forces aiming to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Criticised by the French right-wing parties for being insufficiently active in support of anti-Assad forces, Hollande is anxious to show that he is energetically backing the US policy of regime change in Damascus, continuing in the footsteps of his conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. The aim of French and Western imperialism is to install a puppet regime in Syria, as a step to forcing regime change in Iran. This aims to break any barrier to Washington’s neo-colonial remodelling of the oil-rich region in the interests of the US and its European allies.

Conflict erupts between EU and France over Roma expulsions

Antoine Lerougetel & Peter Schwarztp://">WSWS

[Stop this state persecution of Roma!]

The French government’s policy of mass expulsions of Roma has led to a sharp conflict between Brussels and Paris.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, EU commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding accused the French government of “discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race” and of calling into question “the common values and laws of our European Union”. She described the French policy as a “disgrace”.

The statement by Reding, a Christian Democrat from Luxembourg, was unusual both in its tone and its content. She accused two French ministers, Eric Besson (immigration) and Pierre Lellouche (European affairs), of having lied to her and implicitly compared the actions of the French government with those of the fascists during the Second World War.

“I personally have been appalled by a situation which gave the impression that people are being removed from a Member State of the European Union just because they belong to a certain ethnic minority”, she said. “This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.”

Later she stressed:

“Let me be very clear: Discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe. It is incompatible with the values on which the European Union is founded. National authorities who discriminate ethnic groups in the application of EU law are also violating the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which all Member States, including France, have signed up to.”

It was her personal conviction, Reading concluded, “that the Commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement action against France”.

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