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France supports Brahimi''s new mission to Syria

PARIS, Dec 18 (KUNA) -- The French government on Tuesday expressed continued support for UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, who is expected shortly in Damascus.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said to reporters that France has always been fully behind the efforts of the special envoy and was in "close contact" with him.
"We obviously support anything that can help the political transition in Syria and end the violence," Lalliot said.
He said Brahimi must later report to the divided UN Security Council, where Russia and China have vetoed on three occasions tough resolutions against the Syrian Regime.
Lalliot remarked that Brahimi now had more weight of argument in Damascus as there was "a credible alternative to the regime of Bashar Al-Assad," in the form of the Syrian National Coalition, which has notably made efforts to unite the political and military opposition to Damascus.
Separately, Lalliot said France had noted signs that the regime of Bashar Al-Assad was "losing its grip" in view of statements from parts of its leadership which expressed doubts about the sustainability and possibility of victory in the conflict.
"There are signs in the Syrian State apparatus that the regime is shaken and a certain number of leaders are starting to be aware of the gravity of the situation," the French official added.
But he also indicated that this was not stopping violence by Syrian military forces linked with the regime, including attacks against peaceful protesters.
Lalliot affirmed that the fighting near Damascus and the loss of strategic positions by Syrian government forces and their allies were further evidence that the tide was turning in Syria. (end) jk.mt KUNA 182259 Dec 12NNNN