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No retaliation for weeks, says France's Defense Minister

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Story filed: 14:59
Thursday 4th October 2001

No retaliation for weeks, says minister

US military action for terrorist attacks on Washington and New York isn't likely for several weeks, according to the French defence minister.

Alain Richard says many key decisions by nations involved in the American anti-terrorism campaign had not been made.

When asked about the timing of a possible strike against those responsible for the attacks, Richard said action is not likely to take place for "several weeks".

Richard said: "The decisions to take action haven't been made. Everyone is going to prepare their own means that will be well-adapted for a joint effort. We aren't at the end of that."

"This is an action that will be very targeted, which is oriented toward objectives to destroy or control without touching the population"

Richard's remarks come a day after the United States asked its Nato allies to make specific contributions to the fight against terrorism.

The United States, in presenting its list, did not set a deadline for the allies to respond, nor did it make specific requests of particular allies.

France is agreeing to American requests to open its air space and is offering naval and logistics support in the Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin told the French Parliament a possible French military role would have to be carefully evaluated.

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