France backs UN envoy’s efforts to resolve Syria crisis
Syria – Statements made by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, during his joint press conference with Mr Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria
Paris, 23 October 2015
I’ve just had a meeting with Mr Mistura, the United Nations’ envoy for Syria – [he has] an extremely tough task.
Regarding France’s position, you know it, we want a Syria which is respected in its integrity, a Syria – even though it appears very difficult today – which regains peace and where all components can live together. This is France’s position.
To achieve this, we must first of all fight terrorism, the terrorism represented by Daesh [ISIL] and other groups. We want everyone of goodwill to fight Daesh and the terrorist groups. We’re doing this ourselves: we’ve bombed training camps and will go on doing so.
The second aspect is to ensure that Bashar al-Assad’s regime stops bombing civilians. France will be submitting a resolution to the United Nations Security Council in the next few days to ban so-called barrel bombing. This is very important because tens and hundreds of people are dying as a result of these unacceptable practices.
The third element of our position is to find a political way out, which can only come – after discussions, of course – through Mr Bashar al-Assad not being the future of Syria. He is the main part of the problem and can’t be the solution.
There’s a whole series of meetings. This very day there’s one taking place in Vienna. I talked to my colleague John Kerry and my Saudi and Turkish colleagues about this, and we have contacts with the Russians. I’ve invited our German, British, Saudi, American and other friends to Paris next week for a meeting on these issues. We’ll see what comes out of this afternoon’s meeting. We’ll also try and move things on next week.
The important thing is for a political solution to be found. In our view, this solution can come only through the conditions I recalled a moment ago, bearing in mind, of course, that the Russians’ position is important because they’ve decided to support Bashar al-Assad, although we regret the fact that, until now, most of the strikes they’ve carried out have been directed against the moderate opposition and not Daesh.
In that context, the mission entrusted to Mr de Mistura is extremely important, since he’s trying, with the remarkable experience he has, to encourage a political solution. We wholeheartedly support his action. (…)./.