French Minister and UN envoy hold talks on Syria

Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpts)

Paris, 8 February 2019

United Nations – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and the special envoy of the UN Secretary-general for Syria

M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received the new special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Geir Pedersen, on 7 February.

Following the meetings of the Global Coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL] and the Small Group in Washington, the Minister and his interlocutor reviewed the security and humanitarian situation on the ground. They took stock of international efforts to find a negotiated solution to this conflict, which has resulted in almost 500,000 deaths, more than five million refugees and more than six million displaced persons, and which continues to threaten the stability of the region and the security of Europe.

Jean-Yves Le Drian assured his interlocutor of France’s full support for his mediation. He highlighted the following imperatives in particular:

- the continuation until completion of the campaign by the Syrian Democratic Forces against Daesh, with the support of the Global Coalition against Daesh, and the fight against all terrorist groups identified as such by the UN Security Council;

- the protection of civilians and safe and unrestricted access for the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to populations in need, notably in north-eastern Syria, where there are grave uncertainties;

- the search for a negotiated political solution, in accordance with UNSCR 2254, the only way to guarantee a lasting victory over Daesh and to allow the safe and voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes. This notably requires a constitutional reform and the holding of free and credible elections involving all Syrians, under UN supervision.

These are France’s goals, in support of UN efforts and in consultation with Syria’s neighbours and all countries that have the capacity to influence the outcome of this crisis. (…)

Syria

Q. – Can you confirm whether the option of leasing two US special forces planes to bring back French citizens who went to Syria to fight for Islamic State is on the table?

THE SPOKESPERSON – We are examining all options to prevent the escape and dispersal of these potentially dangerous individuals. The safety of the French depends upon it. No option has been confirmed. (…)./.

Published on 15/02/2019

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