26 October 2016 - Nothing can happen unless the bombing in Aleppo stop
Cuba / Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 26 October 2016
First, on Cuba, I wanted to underscore the fact that we welcome the abstention of the US Delegation on the resolution calling for the end of the embargo on Cuba. It is a very positive step in our views and we hope it will help the efforts to lift the unilateral embargo on Cuba that has been on for too many years. As you know, France has very early on called at the UN here in New York for the end of the embargo on Cuba. So we are very pleased today with what we consider to be a very positive step in the right direction from the US delegation here in New York.
Number two, on Syria, we will listen very carefully to what Stephen O’Brien has to say about the situation in Aleppo and about in particular the conditions he and his team need to bring aid. But let’s be clear about it, as I said again and again, nothing serious can happen until and unless the bombing in Aleppo stop. And we won’t give up on this. We need to keep up the pressure on Syria and its allies to get a real end of the bombing, a real cessation of hostilities. In this respect, the so-called humanitarian pauses that Syria and Russia unilaterally decreed over the weekend are not the solution, we all know this, and frankly to blame the UN is particularly unfair. We have an expression in French "tirer sur l’ambulance", to blame the UN is to shoot at the ambulance, in this case literally and figuratively by the way.
Number three, on the JIM. The JIM mandate expires as you know on 31 October. It has done, in our views, a very important, very serious, professional and indispensable work. It is a legitimate, credible and unique body in its role. So there should be no questioning about the renewal of the JIM. The Security Council needs to stay united on this, on the renewal. It’s not only about Syria, it’s about the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction. If the Security Council is not able to unite on this, on what will it be able to unite?
And then, we will also have a discussion at some point on consequences for the perpetrators of those crimes. The Resolution 2235 is clear about the fact that any violation of the universal prohibition of the use of chemical weapons needs to be sanctioned. So we will see what happens on the sanctions issue. It’s a bit early to say. But again on the renewal, there is a draft resolution which is being discussed and we consider it as a high priority, given what I said.
Q: Ambassador, there is a bombing in Idlib taking place in the last few hours, and over 20 people dead, the vast majority seems to be schools bombs, schoolchildren. Is that something that you will raise in consultations?
I’m sure it will be mentioned during the consultations.
Q: Al Nosra group and others are refusing the cessation hostilities. What do you think about it? How can one party stop hostilities when the other is not?
The basis of everything, the beginning, the starting point of any serious process should be the cessation of hostilities and bombing in Aleppo. There is no other way.
Q: Can you address the Egyptian ideas about humanitarian aid?
Everything that Egypt has to say is by definition important. So we’ll study it very carefully.
Q: Why renew the JIM report if you are not going to react to what they have done so far?
That is what I said: we must do both, you know. We must first renew the JIM report, because it did a great job and we think that there are many ways it can continue the great job. It is absolutely needed. And there should be unity of the Security Council around this first point. Now the second point on which we don’t give up, believe me, is about sanctioning the perpetrators of the crimes and the use of chemicals weapons. That’s something else. That is in our views for another resolution, but as needed as the first.