Syria urges French Mid-East role

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called for France to play a bigger role in Middle East peace efforts. Mr Assad said the issue would be the focal point of his talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He said he was disappointed by Barack Obama’s record in the region, saying no plan of action had been developed since he took over the White House.

The message comes days after Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu told Mr Sarkozy he was ready for talks with Syria.

“France must act,” said Mr Assad ahead of Friday’s talks with his French counterpart.

He criticised what he called the US “weak link” in efforts for renewed peace talks in the Middle East in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro.

France has a strong interest in pushing for Israel-Syria talks, our correspondent adds, as it has been the leading player in Europe in trying to bring Damascus in from the diplomatic cold.


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