Syrie - Q&A - Excerpts from the daily press briefing (29.01.18)

Q - Following the deadlock in the negotiations in Vienna, which the minister had considered the last hope, what does France think of the Syria National Dialogue Congress in Sochi? Is Paris sending an official delegation, or only observers? Do you believe the Geneva process has failed, and if so, what more we can we expect from the Sochi congress?

A - We deplore the fact that the Assad regime has once again refused to engage in the inter-Syrian negotiations that are part of the Geneva process. It is responsible for the deadlock in the peace talks. It is imperative that the countries supporting that regime exert the necessary pressure to end this obstructionist strategy.

Negotiations under the auspices of the UN remain the only legitimate framework for resolving the Syria crisis, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué. All other initiatives, including the Sochi meeting organized by Russia, must support the UN process and be part of that framework.

Indeed, there is no alternative to a negotiated political solution agreed on by the two parties – the regime and the opposition – under the auspices of the UN. In that regard, we take note of the Syrian opposition’s decision not to travel to Sochi. France will not take part in the efforts there.

Q - Do you consider the YPG/PYD a terrorist organization? According to you, does General Mazlum Kobane not belong to the YPG?

A - As a member of the international coalition, France was able to ascertain the commitment demonstrated by the Syrian Democratic Forces – within which Kurds and Arabs fight side by side – in the fight against Daesh.

It was thanks to them that Raqqa was liberated from Daesh, with the support of the international coalition. These forces continue to fight in northeastern Syria.

France also cooperates closely with Turkey in the fight against the PKK, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations.

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