France's Juppe says Syrian amnesty not enough

June 1, 2011 11:41


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PARIS - France said on Wednesday that Syria's amnesty after a crackdown that killed hundreds of protesters had come too late and called for a more fundamental change in policy to deal with protests sweeping the country.

Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a general amnesty on Tuesday following loud international condemnation of his repression of ten weeks of protests against his 11-year rule.

"I fear it may be too late," France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told France Culture radio. "The Syrian authorities' change of direction will have to be much clearer and more ambitious than a simple amnesty."

President Nicolas Sarkozy stepped up his language against Assad as he hosted France's Group of Eight summit last week, saying France no longer had faith in the country and agreed with Washington that Assad must bring about a swift democratic transition or leave power.

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