France "sceptical" about Syria monitor mission
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday he was "sceptical" about the chance of success for the Arab League observer mission in Syria and called for the conditions of the mission to be "clarified", DPA reported
"The conditions in which this observer mission is taking place warrant being clarified," Juppe said in an interview with France's i-Tele channel.
"Can they really access information freely?," he queried, admitting to being "sceptical."
France's top diplomat also renewed his appeals to Russia to support a United Nations resolution condemning the regime's crackdown on protesters demanding Assad's ouster.
"We can see here is an absolutely savage repression, that this regime really has no future and that it's therefore up to the international community to speak out."
President Nicolas Sarkozy separately called for the Arab observers to given "all the means and the freedom to do their work properly."
On a visit to a naval academy in western France Sarkozy also demanded once more that Assad step down, saying his regime's "massacres" justified "disgust and revolt".
Last week, the Arab League dispatched around 60 observers to Syria to check if the government is complying with a plan to halt nine months of violence by the state against protesters.
The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the uprising.
The observers are to check whether the government is keeping its promise to withdraw the military from cities, release hundreds of prisoners and engage in dialogue with the opposition. But the mission has struggled to gain credibility with Syria's opposition.
Activists say scores of people have been killed across the country since the observers arrived, raising questions about their effectiveness.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Monday that there were still shooting attacks in the country but that the military had withdrawn from many cities and that the Arab observers had been able to provide assistance to people in the flashpoint city of Homs.