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French minister to discuss shaky Libya on US trip

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm •  Published: May 13, 2013

Libya's tenuous security situation was underscored Monday when a car bomb exploded a hospital in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing at least 10 people, officials in Libya said.

In the wide-ranging interview, Le Drian also said that France believes in the need for a political solution in Syria, and has noticed "fragility" in the coalition of opponents to President Bashar Assad's regime. He also said France "doesn't have proof" that either side in that conflict may have used chemical weapons: "We only have clues for the moment (about possible use) ... but no verification."

Le Drian is expected to join French President Francois Hollande in Brussels on Wednesday at a donor's conference for Mali, before travelling to London and then Washington — where he will meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, and Congressional leaders.

The minister will also speak before two think tanks to detail France's freshly minted "white book" on defense and security, which lays out the threats that France faces in the future and ways of combatting them, at a time when many deficit-riddled European countries like France have been looking for ways to trim state spending.