Paris sidesteps fishermen, backs a previous offer

The French government, after meeting Wednesday for the first time since striking fishermen began blockading harbors two weeks ago, ignored the men's main demands that pending cuts in trawler crews be stopped and government fuel subsidies be increased. Instead, it backed a previous offer to help modernize the fishing fleet and maintain market prices, and confirmed instructions to the Navy to keep major ports open. There was no immediate reaction to the statement from the fishermen, who maintained their blockade of most ports, halting most cross-channel traffic and sealing much of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.

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