Paris confirms presence of aircraft carrier in waters outside Syria

Press TV – Dec 14, 2012

Paris has confirmed that the French aircraft carrier, Charles De Gaulle, has now stationed in the Mediterranean Sea, just outside Syria.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFMTV on Tuesday that although French Marines are onboard the vessel, it does not mean that France is preparing for a military intervention in Syria.

He, however, justified the presence of the French aircraft carrier in waters just outside Syria as part of Paris’ policy to maintain military readiness in the face of any threat.

The French minister also said that the vessel is not conducting a military exercise in the region.

USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and at least five British warships, which are also carrying a large marine force, are also in the region.

On 20 March 2011, the Charles de Gaulle was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea to enforce a Western-backed no-fly zone over Libya.

Le Drian also denied reports claiming that the French military has gone into a secret state of alert and that it is ready for intervention in Syria.

French Defense Minister said that the Syrians must decide their future; however, he warned that France would take a very strong position against Syria if it uses chemical weapons, calling it a red line.

On December 3, US President Barack Obama claimed that Syria intends to use chemical weapons against the militants and warned against the consequences of such a move.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also warned on Tuesday that any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would prompt an immediate military response.

This comes while Damascus has refuted the allegations.

HM/PKH

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