French Foreign Minister to snub France vs Turkey soccer match

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gestures as he speaks after a meeting of the Russian-French Security Cooperation Council in Moscow, Russia, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has decided not to attend Monday’s soccer match in Paris between France and Turkey in the wake of Turkey’s military offensive in northeastern Syria, said Le Drian’s office.

Le Drian had previously planned to be at the game, said the minister’s department.

French officials are planning to step up security ahead of this evening’s European Championship game in the Stade de France between the two countries, following the condemnation by France and the European Union of the Turkish offensive.

The EU, which Turkey still aspires to join, had already condemned the Turkish air and artillery strikes on Kurdish militia in northeast Syria, and has been further infuriated by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to send refugees to Europe.

Reporting by Sophie Louet; Editing by Alex Richardson

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