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Syria urges France to stop meddling in internal affairs

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that France must stop intervening in Syria's internal affairs after it questioned the fresh general amnesty issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Earlier in the day, Assad issued a general pardon that covered crimes committed before April 16. Syrian Prime Minister Wael al- Halqi said as many as 7,000 prisoners would be released under the amnesty.

France, however, said it was concerned that the pardon "might be a maneuver to buy time."

The Foreign Ministry said the amnesty came on the eve of the anniversary of the 1946 withdrawal of French troops from Syria that marked the end of France's mandate of the country.

"Our Syrian people will not allow France to return to their country (Syria) through supporting the armed terrorist groups and their conspiracy to further shed the blood of the Syrians," the official SANA news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

"France has no right to evaluate an internal Syrian issue," said the ministry.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 16Apr13]

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