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French press review 6 September 2013

Text by: William Niba
3 min

Syria and the G20 monopolize the front pages headlining with the American and French hunt for political support to their plan for military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.


Libération reports that apart from securing the support of staunch allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the vast majority of Arab countries are keeping quiet, including Tunisia, Sudan and especially Egypt; a major US partner for 35 years. 

Libé suggests that French President François Hollande will have to do without the European Union after a rebuff from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU President Herman Van Rompuy.  According to the paper, both leaders reiterated to Hollande on Thursday that while the Damascus chemical attack was "a crime against humanity" there was "no military solution to the Syrian conflict".

Obama and Hollande are isolated and cut off from the world. This according to the Communist daily L’Humanité. It underlines that at the opening of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, the vast majority of world leaders advocated instead for a diplomatic solution and the respect of the United Nations.

On France 24

For right-leaning Le Figaro, it is obvious that EU nations favour the position of Russian President Vladmir Putin over that of Barack Obama. The outcome it claims is the pitiful and predictable result of the disastrous decisions taken after the obvious international outrage sparked by the 21 August shelling of chemical weapons on an opposition-held neighbourhood in Damascus. Diplomacy is not a matter of emotions, according to Le Figaro.

The newspaper says should Obama gain congressional approval next week, it would be because US senators and members of the House of Representatives will be keen on avoiding the humiliation and loss of credibility by Americans.

Les Echos examines the lukewarm reception granted by Russian leader Vladmir Putin to French President François Hollande. The economic newspaper paper claims that he looked irritated and was always looking at his watch as the he appeared absent-minded during the opening of the G20 in his hometown.

La Croix looks forward to a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria proposed by Pope Francis. According to the Catholic newspaper, the Holy See is urging Christians to form a human chain of peace and fraternity this Saturday and support the use of diplomatic means instead of military force to resolve the conflict in Syria.

Aujourd’hui en France laments a black day for the southern French city of Marseille after two more men were gunned down in the continuing spiral of tit-for-tat killings by rival gangs fighting for control of the lucrative drug market. One of the gangsters is the son of the Olympique Marseille’s Sporting Director José Anigo. The popular paper says the combined actions of shootings, hostage-taking at a Marseille hospital and a police operation in a local council estate, are all evidence pointing to the city's descent to hell.

Absenteeism in French enterprises, jumped by 20 percent in 2012, after seeing a three year fall. That’s according to Les Echos, quoting a new study published in May. The economic newspaper says that the banking sector was paradoxically the most hit as opposed to the laborious construction sector. The survey found that the culprits are mostly in their fifties and skipping an average 27 days from work very year and costing the economy more than 7 billion euros in revenue.

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