Syria - Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing (31 March 2017)

Q - The U.S. administration has officially declared that the fate of Assad is no longer a priority. What is your response to that?

A - I refer you to Jean-Marc Ayrault’s remarks this morning on the sidelines of the NATO ministerial meeting:

“The question cannot be asked in these terms. Some want the discussion to revolve, at all costs, around the issue of whether Bashar al-Assad stays or goes. But the question is whether the international community abides by its own commitments, i.e., a resolution adopted unanimously by the members of the Security Council in December 2015.

Given the situation in Syria, we need negotiations to end the crisis, the violence and the execution of prisoners – a crisis that gave rise to millions of refugees and displaced persons. We need negotiations and a political transition.

Today in Geneva, on one side of the negotiating table we have the opposition, in all its diversity, and on the other, the representatives of the regime. This is the framework in which the negotiations must be held to bring about a political transition, which requires both a new Constitution and elections. We must proceed methodically, step by step. We must stand firm. While we must fight and eradicate Daesh – in Raqqa as in Mosul, for that is crucial – we also need national stability and reconciliation.”