Syria - Q&A - Excerpts from the daily press briefing (18.07.17)


Q - 1/ Israel is opposed to the truce in the south of the country, because it believes that it strengthens Iran’s presence. What is Paris’s view regarding this?

A - As you are aware, France is attached to Israel’s security.

The discussions underway between the U.S., Russia and Jordan are aimed at establishing a de-escalation zone in the south. All efforts to reduce hostilities are helpful.

France, in collaboration with its partners, is closely monitoring the conditions for establishing this zone, and notably the withdrawal of the militia groups.

2/ In addition, you did not give a clear response yesterday regarding the issue of whether Iran will be part of the new contact group proposed by France or not.

Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed to Le Monde that a political solution in Syria must involve “the permanent members of the Security Council and the countries in the region, with the support of the UN.”

We are in contact with our partners in order to make progress toward achieving this goal.

3/ Will the Kurds play a full role in the diplomatic road map and the negotiations?

In France’s view, it is clear that national reconciliation involves taking all components of the Syrian population into account, within an institutional framework, which is for them to define.

The Geneva Communiqué and UNSCR 2254 form the framework for the inter-Syrian talks. These texts clearly define the parties involved in the UN-led negotiations: the representatives of the opposition and the regime.

This resolution also reaffirms that “the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis over the long term is through an open political process, led by the Syrians, responding to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and conducted with a view toward fully implementing the provisions of the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012.”

4/ President Macron established red lines with regard to chemical weapons and the humanitarian situation on May 29, Mr. Le Drian visited Moscow at the end of June and Mr. Lavrov was received in Paris at the beginning of July. What progress has been made on the humanitarian front? Have you seen any concrete gestures from Moscow? With respect to chemical weapons, has Russia made any concrete commitments with respect to dismantling the regime’s arsenal?

President Macron identified two strategic priorities in Syria regarding which tangible progress must be achieved as a matter of urgency.

On the humanitarian front - as reaffirmed by Jean-Yves Le Drian in Moscow on June 20 - we would like “Russia to contribute to ensuring safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid everywhere it is needed.” We are continuing to engage in dialogue with Moscow on this issue in order to strengthen the effectiveness of aid on the ground. The unimpeded and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to all populations in need throughout the Syrian territory is a priority which France is discussing with its partners.

With respect to chemical weapons, Russia recognizes, like us, that sarin gas was used in the attack on April 4, 2017, which has been investigated by the OPCW and confirmed by the fact-finding mission.

It’s on this basis that we would like to work with Russia, within the framework of the appropriate international forums, especially the OPCW. Russia and France have the same interest in protecting the chemical non-proliferation regime.

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