Major powers "obliged" to act over Syria - Hollande

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Major powers "obliged" to act over Syria - Hollande

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French President Francois Hollande says increasing proof of the use of chemical weapons in Syria means the international community is obliged to act.

Both France and the UK say they have confirmed the use of the nerve agent, sarin. But Hollande says any decision must be made within the framework of international law.

“We have elements of proof and we urge the international community to act,” Hollande told reporters. “The Geneva conference is in the pipeline and what has happened in Syria should be one more element to add to the pressure that should be brought to bear on the Syrian regime, and its allies.”

France’s foreign minister said yesterday that samples taken from alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria had tested positive for the nerve agent, sarin.

But experts like Hamish de Bretton-Gordon are concerned the tests have not been independently verified.

“I am sure the French laboratories and the British laboratories are very, very good but they are hardly independent, which is why everyone is saying, quite rightly in my opinion, that it is the UN who has to get in and do it.”

UN teams, though, are hampered by access problems.

The Syrian government has continually denied using them and in turn has accused the opposition of doing so, an accusation which has also been repeatedly dismissed.