MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - French authorities are certain that chemical weapons were used in Syria on several occasions, CNN quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying on Tuesday.
Fabius, who earlier in the day met with the head of a UN mission to establish the facts about alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, said he informed the official, Swedish scientist Prof. Ake Sellstrom, about the results of tests carried out by a French lab appointed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
"These results show the presence of sarin in the samples that are in our possession," Fabius said. "In view of these elements, France now has the certainty that the sarin gas was used in Syria several times and in a localized manner."
The Syrian government and opposition forces have earlier accused each other of using chemical weapons during hostilities.
In an interview with France 2 TV channel later in the day, Fabius said that there was "no doubt that it's the regime and its accomplices" were responsible for the use of sarin, a colorless and odorless nerve agent.
"All options are on the table. That means either we decide not to react or we decide to react including by armed actions targeting the place where the gas is stored," BBC quoted the French top diplomat as saying.
The tests came following media reports that French special services are studying materials provided by journalists for French newspaper Le Monde. The journalists say they had smuggled blood and urine samples out of Syria taken after what they believed were chemical attacks in the capital Damascus and the northern town of Saraqeb.
The statement coincided with the release of a draft report by the UN Human Rights Council, which says there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that chemical agents were used in Syria.
“The precise agents, delivery systems or perpetrators could not be identified," reads the statement, posted on the council’s website.
Washington reacted with cautious statements, saying that it required additional information on the issue.
"We need to expand the evidence we have," CNN quoted White House spokesman Jay Carney as saying on Tuesday. "We need to make it reviewable; we need to have it corroborated before we make any decisions based on the clear violation that use of chemical weapons would represent by the Syrian regime. So, we will continue in that effort."
Spokesperson Jan Psaki told reporters that the Department of State said was “seeking more information” and was not going to “evaluate other countries’ information in public.”
“We have seen, of course, those reports,” she said. “For the time being, I would refer you all to the French Government. As we have said previously, we have been providing information we have to the UN investigation. We encourage others to, of course, do the same. We are still seeking further information.”