French defense minister criticizes US for disengagement in the Middle East

France’s armed forces minister Florence Parly speaking at the annual IISS Manama Dialogue in Bahrain. (Al Arabiya)

There is “gradual US disengagement” in the Middle East and the trend will continue “regardless of who wins the next election,” France’s armed forces minister Florence Parly said on Saturday.

In the Middle East “we have seen deliberate, gradual US disengagement” said Parly, in an address at the annual IISS Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.

Parly said the US disengagement strategy became clear when US President Barack Obama did not respond militarily to Syrian chemical attacks in 2013. She did not mention current US President Donald Trump’s military action against Syria following an alleged chemical weapons attack in April 2018.

Parly said the trend of US disengagement in the region is “quite clear and thus, likely irrespective of who wins the next election.” She said Turkey, Russia, and China have sought to fill the supposed vacuum.

She also criticized US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Monday that the Trump administration no longer considers Israeli civilian settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal according to international law.

The whole body of international rules on Palestine, including United Nations resolutions, “are being spectacularly disregarded these days,” she said.

Following the criticism, Parly emphasized her own country’s support of its allies in the region.

“We will stand by our allies. You can count on us,” she said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:01 - GMT 07:01
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