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Syria - CNS (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - October 12, 2012)

Q : Do you have any response regarding the postponement of the SNC meeting in Doha which was due to take place on October 15 and which has been postponed by 2 weeks?

A : The plan in Doha is to reappoint the SNC bodies as well as to expand the representative bodies of the Syrian opposition in order to make it as inclusive as possible. No one claimed this would be easy given the current circumstances in Syria, the great diversity of communities that make up Syria, and lastly given the fact that we need to bring together the opposition from within the country and outside it, the civilian opposition and the military opposition. No one has ever claimed this would be easy. What we’re certain of however is that it in order to have a credible alternative to the regime, the ultimate goal is to have an opposition that is representative and legitimate; an opposition that represents all components of the Syrian population.

Q : Do you think that the SNC in its present form constitutes a lynchpin for the French foreign ministry in this region? Is it, in your view still credible?

A : It’s a key force within the Syrian opposition. Efforts have been made to make it more inclusive and to bring all components of Syrian society together within these bodies. We must continue to work tirelessly in this direction. The SNC is endeavoring to do so.

Q : I see that the minister has a great deal of meetings with NGOs and a meeting with the Arab ambassadors. Are these meetings prompted by the Syrian crisis, particularly the meetings with the EHRF and the Red Cross?

A : Indeed, it is an opportunity to deal with major international issues, and as it happens, among these issues, Syria is of major importance. For us, it’s a key priority. That doesn’t mean they won’t discuss other issues. They could talk about Iran, another topic of great concern to these countries. They will also talk about the peace process, the Palestinian initiative to raise the status of Palestine at the UN, Tunisia, etc. There are many topics of common interest with this region.

Q : Just to get back to the opposition, how do you view the role of the Kurds in the opposition? I think the liberated areas contain many Kurdish zones, which don’t have any power, but you aren’t helping them in those areas. Why not help the Kurds? In general, how do you view the Kurdish opposition?

A : The Kurdish community is one of the major communities making up Syria, and it therefore must be given an equal footing with the others in the bodies we hope will soon replace the current regime. We provide assistance where it is asked and where it will be most effective, i.e., in three governorates. We’re taking a pragmatic approach. This list isn’t exhaustive. The goal is for these areas to gradually cover the largest possible portion of Syrian territory.

Q : But do you think that for now, the Kurdish position isn’t clear enough for you and that it should be clarified before showing more visible support?

A : No, don’t see it as a choice aimed at excluding anyone on an ethnic basis; certainly not. Once again, it’s much more pragmatic. We offer it when we see needs, and when we believe we can. The more liberated areas, the better. At the end of the day, the objective is a single liberated area, Syria.



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