France remains committed for a lasting solution in Syria [fr]
Syrie / resolution 2336 - Explanation of vote by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 31st December 2016
France is in favour of any initiative to save civilian lives in Syria. It was in that spirit that, on 16 December, it proposed a draft resolution to deploy an evacuation monitoring mechanism in Aleppo. It is for those same reasons that France today voted in favour of resolution 2336 (2016).
France hopes that this ceasefire agreement will be implemented immediately and calls on the guarantors to assume their full responsibilities in this regard. The text of the Russian-Turkish agreement, as partially presented to the Security Council yesterday, nevertheless still contains areas of obscurity.
France’s first concern concerns the genuine adherence of the Syrian parties to the truce agreement, while bombardments have been carried out by the regime in violation of the agreement in the past 48 hours, while a regime offensive, supported by Iran, is still under way in the Barada valley. The Security Council has received no document signed by the regime or opposition groups. The list of groups considering themselves to be parties to the agreement has not been communicated to us. Russia said that some groups had mandated others to accede to the agreement, which is not corroborated by the texts that have been transmitted to us.
Under these conditions, the degree of commitment of the parties to the truce appears relatively uncertain and its implementation fragile. In particular, France considers that the cessation of hostilities must apply to all armed groups, with the exception of groups designated as terrorists by the Security Council. Armed groups that are not parties to the cessation of hostilities should not automatically be regarded as terrorists.
It is also essential that the monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire be coordinated with the United Nations. In this respect, France would have liked to be able to study, with its partners, the modalities of extending the monitoring arrangements provided for in resolution 2328 (2016) to other localities in Syria. France remains at the disposal of the guarantors to consider a rigorous and impartial monitoring mechanism.
All the efforts of the international community must now be aimed at facilitating the resumption of the negotiations to be held on 8 February under the auspices of Staffan de Mistura, to whom we reiterate our full support. The preparatory exercises must fall within the framework defined by resolution 2254 (2015) and the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex). The Astana meeting could be a useful first step in that regard. To that end, the process of appointing opposition representatives to the Astana meeting should be transparent. However, it raises important questions. France recalls that the High Negotiation Committee is the legitimate representative of the opposition in the inter-Syrian negotiations. There can be no credible exercise that excludes it.
France hopes that the discussions on these points will continue in a transparent manner with a view to an effective political transition, which is essential if Syria is to recover and begin its reconstruction. France remains fully committed to the search for a lasting solution to the conflict, which has lasted too long.