Jean-Marc Ayrault tweeted that he was outraged
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan was invited to the meeting just a week after a gas attack allegedly ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed scores of civilians in the northwestern province of Idlib.
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault tweeted: “After the vile chemical weapons attack, Republican MEPs have invited one of al-Assad’s deputy ministers to Paris, to the Russian cultural centre. I am outraged!”
Italian conservative Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, had for his part banned Mr Soussan from attending a similar conference in Brussels planned for April 10 in response to the atrocity.
Antonio Tajani had part banned Mr Soussan from attending a similar conference in Brussels
The meeting was due to take place at the National Assembly, but we realised that this could be problematic
The event, named “Syria, A Tragedy That Cannot Go On,” had been organised two months before the April 5 Sarin gas attack.
The event was organised by Republican lawmakers Thierry Mariani and Nicolas Dhuicq, and had the backing of two Socialist lawmakers.
The event was organised by Thierry Mariani (pictured) and Nicolas Dhuicq
Mr Mariani said: “The meeting was due to take place at the National Assembly, but we realised that this could be problematic, and so we decided to move it to the Russian cultural centre so as to not get in anyone’s way.”
Mr Mariani also confirmed that Mr Soussan had attended the meeting after the invite from Mr Fillon's The Republicans party.
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France has repeatedly called for Assad to resign
Last week’s attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun elicited worldwide condemnation, and prompted US President Donald Trump to order cruise missile strikes on the Syrian air base from where the nerve agent attack was reportedly launched.
France has repeatedly called for Assad to resign and has offered its support to the moderate Syrian opposition throughout the bloody civil war, which entered its seventh year in March.