Macron blasts 'unacceptable attack' on ex-spy in UK

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday blasted the "unacceptable" nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain and expressed his "full solidarity" with the British government.

"The president condemned the unacceptable attack and reaffirmed France's commitment to fighting impunity when it comes to chemical weapons use," Macron's office said in a statement.

Macron spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May by telephone on Monday evening and she informed him of the results of the investigation and the answers she was expecting from Moscow, the statement added.

Macron "assured May of France's full solidarity with the United Kingdom," it said, adding that the pair agreed to "stay in close contact" over the issue in the coming days.

The French statement refrained from pointing the figure at the Kremlin for the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

British police have said the case is being as an attempted murder.

May and US President Donald Trump said it appeared to have been carried out by Moscow, an accusation furiously denied by Russian officials.

The French foreign ministry had condemned the attack earlier Tuesday as a growing number of Western governments expressed support for Britain over the affair.

"We have full confidence that the British investigation will rapidly establish who was responsible," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muehll said.

The diplomatic incident could pose a dilemma for Macron who has argued for keeping an open dialogue with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, despite verbal clashes over the war in Syria.

Macron is due to travel to Russia for the first time as president in late May for an economic forum in St. Petersburg and possibly also a visit to Moscow.

The French foreign ministry declined to comment on whether he was considering postponing or cancelling the trip.


© 2018 AFP

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