17 August 2015 - Syria: A Historical UNSC Presidential Statement [fr]
Adoption of a Presidential Statement on the political situation in Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative, chargé d’Affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations - 17 August 2015
(In French and English)
First, about the presidential statement which has just been approved by the Council, I think it conveys four powerful messages.
The first message is a message of regained unity by the Security Council. Just a few days after the adoption of a resolution on chemical weapons, we have now, for the first time since resolution 2118 adopted two years ago, a significant statement by the Council on the political process in Syria. I think it is a major achievement.
The second message is a political message. The message is a political message on terrorism and also the absolute necessity to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. One will not go without the other. It means that we will not defeat Daesh, we will not defeat terrorism if there is not an organized transition in Syria. I think this point is very clearly made in the statement.
The third is a message of outrage. After the attacks which took place in the outskirt of Damascus these last few days, after months and months of use on indiscriminate weapons on civilian population, the Council makes it clear, that this use, these indiscriminate and deadly attacks against civilian population must cease. That is a very clear message in the statement.
And the fourth message is a message of support to Staffan de Mistura. Staffan de Mistura tries to revive the political process. His task is to operationalize the Geneva Communiqué. As you know he explained to the Security Council at the end of July the way he intends to proceed. He is going to convey four working groups in order for this political process to start. He has now the strong and full support of the Security Council.
You know it has been France’s position from the beginning that the only lasting solution in Syria will be a political solution.
For that, the Geneva Communiqué is the only internationally agreed basis to set the parameters for such a political solution.
Now more than ever we have to implement, to operationalize this Geneva Communiqué and I think that it is the message the Council conveyed today.
Le Conseil de sécurité vient de se réunir pour adopter une déclaration présidentielle de portée historique. Cette déclaration porte quatre messages.
D’abord un message d’unité. Pour la première fois depuis deux ans, depuis la résolution 2118 qui endossait le Communiqué de Genève, le Conseil de sécurité s’unit et passe un message en soutien au processus politique en Syrie. A quelques jours de l’adoption d’une résolution sur les armes chimiques, c’est une évolution capitale pour le Conseil de sécurité.
Le deuxième message est un message politique sur le terrorisme et aussi sur l’importance, la nécessité absolue que les attentes légitimes des populations syriennes soient prises en compte. L’un n’ira pas sans l’autre c’est-à-dire qu’on ne défera pas Daech s’il n’y a pas une transition ordonnée en Syrie.
Le troisième message est un message de révolte. Après des mois et des mois de tonneaux d’explosifs utilisés en Syrie, après les attaques indiscriminées qui ont encore eu lieu ce week-end, le Conseil passe clairement le message que ces attaques doivent cesser immédiatement. C’est un message que le Conseil avait déjà passé et qu’il réitère avec force.
Enfin, le dernier message que passe le Conseil est un message de soutien à Staffan de Mistura. Sa tâche est difficile. Elle consiste à faire démarrer enfin un processus politique en Syrie. La France estime qu’il n’y a pas d’autre solution, il n’y aura pas de solution durable en dehors d’une solution politique en Syrie. Il existe un cadre pour cela, c’est le Communiqué de Genève, qui est le seul cadre agréé international pour définir les paramètres de la transition.
Ce Communiqué de Genève doit maintenant être opérationnalisé. Ce sont les efforts que mène Staffan de Mistura en ce sens. Il nous a expliqué le 29 juillet comment il comptait faire, il a aujourd’hui tout le soutien du Conseil à cette fin.
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Questions and Answers
Q : At the beginning of your comment you talked about the unity of the Security Council, but this actually contradicts what the Venezuela Ambassador was saying. Would you comment on that please ? And what would you say to the fact that it seems to be that there was no consultation with the other ten members than the P5 regarding this statement ? Thank you
Venezuela has expressed its position at the Security Council. Venezuela has fully the right to express its national position at the Security Council. They can be happy about some elements, unhappy about other elements. What matters for me is what the Council says. And the Security Council today adopted a statement on the political process – and this is a point that the Ambassador of Venezuela made clearly – by a consensus. That is for me the point which matters.
I was also impressed at the end of the statement delivered by Rafael [the Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN] earlier, when he said that the reason why he actually supported this statement and he joined the consensus was because he wanted to give peace a chance.
Now when it comes to the procedure, the way discussions have been done, there have been extensive discussions on this issue on the 29 July at the Security Council. Permanent members have been working together on a text, indeed, and then have passed it to all members of the Security Council. I do not think that any of its elements actually came as something totally new, out of the blue. We all know that it is actually the only way for this war in Syria to be brought to an end. The achievement of today is that all these elements which were in everybody’s mind were put in writing for the first time and unanimously adopted by the Council.
Q : Not only Venezuela but also New Zealand and I believe some other members have had a critic of about the way they were given only 18 hours and then it went longer. In the future, do you think any reform will come in terms of getting the elected ten involved at an earlier stage ?Retour ligne automatique
I also wanted to ask you on Burundi since I know that France is the penholder. Given what is taking place there, do you have any plans regarding Security Council meetings or to get the Secretary-General to send an envoy ? What is the plan of France as penholder on that issue ?
First on Syria, you are very interested in process. I know it is very common at the UN, everybody focuses on process. What matters for me is actually substance. And I think that what matters today is the fact that we could unite the Council on a strong support for Staffan de Mistura’s implementation, operationalization of the Geneva Communiqué, because that would be an important step, a major step towards the end of the conflict in Syria. We can discuss about process at length, and you know, it never ends. What matters for me is the substance.
On Burundi, we had consultations last week. The Security Council is following very closely this issue in relation with the region. As you know, the Eastern African Community is directly tackling this issue together with the African Union and we, the United Nations, the Security Council together with the region are following very closely this issue.
Q : About recent reports of ISIS using chemical weapons repeatedly in the last two weeks, especially reports of gas in Syria and in Iraq, as a member of the anti-ISIS coalition, France, do you think the Council should address this specific threat, especially with new reports that confirm that they are using it and senior UN officials say it is becoming a pattern ?Retour ligne automatique
My second question is again about this threat, on your national capacity, are you aware of any new discussions between France and the US to address this new threat of ISIS and the chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq ?
We have seen reports indeed regarding the possible use of chemical weapons by Daesh in Iraq. I actually have not seen any report on Syria, but wherever the place it is it is obvious that these weapons are illegal and of course we need to unite, first of all to establish the facts to know exactly what happened and, secondly, to address this issue and to stop these attacks.
But again, the best way to do it is to fight efficiently Daesh and the best way to do it is by putting all the Syrians together, not under the umbrella of Bashar al-Assad but through a transitional governing body. Which is exactly what the Geneva Communiqué speaks about. A body which would be legitimate and which would be able to address actually what has become now a major threat to Syria and also to rest of the region, which is the threat of Daesh.
Q : In both you national capacity and also if you can characterize discussions in the Security Council, is there still a potential option that Mr. Assad could remain in power for at least a transitional period of time as part of this transition mechanism to ensure some sort of continuity of existing governmental institutions or is that considered off the table ?
My Minister Laurent Fabius has made this point very clearly : Bashar al-Assad is not the future of Syria.