Syria: a note of deep concern and a note of hope
Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 27 September 2017
Two points on Syria before the consultations we are about to have : one note of deep concern, but also one note of hope.
I’d like first of all to express a note of deep concern with respect to the situation on the ground in Syria, which is indeed very worrying: violence remains high in many parts of the country, with bombings in the Idlib province in particular, and the humanitarian situation is dire. If you look at the Astana process, it has proven useful in some regards but has not been able to bring a cease-fire. There is no improvement of the humanitarian situation in the de-escalation zones. The lack of medical supplies is unacceptable and the regime, I will underscore this point during the consultations, bears responsibility for this. So a strong note of concerns.
But also a note of hope, I would say in two respects. Number one, with respect to the fight against terrorism in Syria, which is a national security priority for France. Things are moving forward, we got significant success.
Number two, the General Assembly talks have been constructive on Syria, bringing and pushing convergences on several fronts. In a nutshell, we believe that there is an opportunity now to boost the political process in Syria and that the international Contact Group, as proposed by France, can be an important leverage to this end. In this respect, we feel quite encouraged by the positive discussions that took place here in New York during the General Assembly of the UN.
So these are the key messages that I will convey to my colleagues at the Security Council: a note of deep concern with respect to the humanitarian situation and the ceasefire, but also the need for all of us to roll up our sleeves in a united way and to boost the political process now, when we believe there is an opportunity to do so.
As some of you may know, I was on President Chirac’s foreign policy team a long time ago during the negotiations on Bosnia and I remember the difference that the creation of a contact group made then, when we were able to bring the key players together and against this backdrop to boost the political process and to pave the way for then Richard Holdbrooks’ mediation, leading to the Dayton agreement signed in Paris. So, comparison is always difficult to make, but mutatis mutandis I believe we also have an opportunity and therefore a special responsibility with respect to Syria and that’s the whole philosophy of the French proposal for an international contact group.