Ceasefire is immediate priority in Syria - Foreign Minister
Syria – Fight against terrorism – Statements by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Paris, 30 May 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’ve just had the opportunity to speak to Mr Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria; it was our first meeting.
The meeting was a chance for me to reiterate France’s support for the difficult mediation being carried out under your responsibility in Geneva, with a view to setting out the arrangements for a negotiated democratic transition in accordance with the road map marked out in the Geneva Communiqué and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
The latest cycle of negotiations in Geneva has enabled us to fine-tune even further the working method and the procedures for discussions between the parties. It’s important for negotiations to begin now on the heart of the matter: the political transition, how powers will develop during the transition phase, the reform of the Syrian constitutional framework, and preparations for free and fair elections. That’s the agenda set by Resolution 2254, and it’s our road map today.
As you know, France’s first priority in Syria is to defeat Daesh [so-called ISIL], which is threatening us from the territory it still controls, even though we’re noting successive retreats.
Alongside this necessary battle against Daesh, we must take into account the Syrian civil war, which has been going on for six years and has led to the destruction of the country and the development of terrorism. Only a credible political process will make it possible to create the conditions for national reconciliation, the reconstruction of Syria and the lasting containment of terrorism, both on the ground and in people’s minds.
To achieve this, Staffan de Mistura and I agreed on an immediate priority: to establish an effective and lasting ceasefire throughout the country. The agreement reached in the framework of the Astana Process discussions is a first step. However, as you know, violations are continuing, which is very worrying.
We also discussed the humanitarian situation, which is still tragic in Syria, and in particular the difficulties of gaining access to opposition-held areas, where the immediate needs are huge.
I wanted to repeat to you that France will remain very committed regarding every aspect of the Syria tragedy and will fully support your efforts to achieve an inclusive peace process./.