Syria - Q&A - Excerpts from the daily press briefing (22 June 2017)

Q - Do you believe that the inter-Syrian talks in Geneva are still the best framework for finding a political solution?

A - In the interview given this morning to several European daily newspapers, President Macron reaffirmed his belief that “we need a diplomatic and political road map” and that “the issue cannot be resolved through military force alone.”

In this context, France is convinced that the implementation of a negotiated democratic transition is key to putting an end to the Syrian conflict, defeating terrorism and ensuring the voluntary and lasting return of the refugees and internally displaced persons.

The inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva provide the framework for achieving a political solution in accordance with UNSCR 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué. We reaffirm our full support for the mediation efforts of Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria.

Q - The president and the minister mentioned a red line regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria. What does that mean in concrete terms? What are we going to do to ensure that this red line is respected? Have we imposed any demands or a timetable on Russia?

A - As Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed in Moscow on June 20, we want Russia to “be able to contribute to ensuring safe and unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed.”

The safe and unhindered transportation of humanitarian assistance to all populations in need throughout the Syrian territory is a priority for France. In its discussions with its partners and within the UN forums, including the Security Council, France is working tirelessly to achieve this goal.

Q - Raqqa’s civilian council is complaining that there is insufficient preparation for the post-Islamic State period, and that this could exacerbate tensions between communities. It is also complaining that the coalition contributed nothing financially to prepare for the rebuilding of the city/region and to help displaced residents. Given your role on the ground, are you satisfied with what is happening on the non-military front in Raqqa?

A - Like the protection of civilian populations, humanitarian assistance is a necessity taken into account by the members of the international coalition against Daesh.

The governance of areas liberated from Daesh is a priority.

Working with its partners in the international coalition against Daesh, France is involved in liberating territories held by the terrorist organization, particularly the city of Raqqa. It is working with them to prepare the stabilization phase that will follow the liberation of those territories, in respect for the aspirations of local populations and in conjunction with them, making sure to take all of their needs into account.

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