French leader tells new envoy: Only solution is Assad departure
French president François Hollande on Monday afternoon met Lakhdar Brahimi , the new international mediator for Syria. The French leader declared that "there can be no political solution without the departure of Bashar al-Assad". He also "reiterated the commitment (of France) for a free and democratic Syria who would be respectful of the rights of each of its sects," added France's president.
Meanwhile, the German opposition is horrified about a possible German spy ship off the coast of Syria. The German "Oker" ship has been cruising in the eastern Mediterranean, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper had reported. The intelligence gathered by the ship against Assad's regime is passed on to U.S. and British services. They in turn could make the information available to the Syrian rebels. A spokesman for the German Ministry of Defense confirmed on Monday that the "Oker" is in the eastern Mediterranean.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said when asked whether the data collected by the German navy would be passed: "In general I think it is normal that knowledge can be shared with NATO partners." Moreover, according to Seibert, the Federal Government would report in this case only to the Parliamentary Control Committee (PKG).
Member of Parliament Christian Ströbele stated he is now considering the to call for a prompt PKG meeting. Ströbele who represents in the committee the Green Party, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung: "The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is to gather information for the federal government and should not intervene in a civil war."
The head of the Left Party, Bernd Riexinger said that Germany should not be drawn into a civil war.