5 February 2016 - The Syrian regime and its allies have made no concession [fr]
Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 5 February 2016
The presentation by Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura confirms what we already knew: the Syrian regime and its allies have made no concession. Quite the contrary. On the one hand, the Syrian regime claims to discuss peace in Geneva, and on the other hand, it intensifies its military offensive against opposition groups with which it is supposed to discuss, and imposes on the city of Aleppo an unprecedented torrent of fire.
All of this with Russia’s military support, within the framework of a military campaign that can only lead to torpedo any hope for peace.
A peace process for the sake of process is meaningless. It must produce results and be credible to all Syrians. Tangible humanitarian improvementsare the condition for credible negotiations. These are the demands made by the Security Council in its resolution 2254 and France expects the regime and its allies to respect their humanitarian obligations and resolution 2254 of the Security Council, namely, I repeat them: the cessation of indiscriminate bombing, removing sieges, and full humanitarian access to Syrian populations.
On the ground, it is the opposite that we see: the intensification of Syrian shelling, with military support from Russia, has led to a grave deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Once again, France condemns the brutal offensive conducted by the Syrian regime, with Russia’s support, to surround and stifle Aleppo and its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants.
The Special Envoy’s decision to suspend the talks was the only possible decision in current circumstances.
France will continue to participate in the negotiation process, and to support the remarkable and tireless efforts by the Special Envoy, Staffan De Mistura. The resumption of the negotiations, expected on February 25th, will have to be on solid ground, with three guarantees: full respect for international humanitarian law; targeting of the terrorist organizations designated as such by the United Nations, and working toward a transitional government.
Q: Do you believe that the Russian air strikes are responsible for the collapse of the talks, and/or the siege of Aleppo? Secondly, is there any consideration of humanitarian air drops that your government could participate in?
A : On the first point, I think I made clear the fact that the Syrian regime military attacks with the support of Russia are responsible for the situation as it is and for the fact that the opposition can simply not negotiate with, as I said a bit earlier, a gun to their head. It’s not possible. With respect to the other measures that could be taken — because we will not give up, and as France we will certainly not give up — we are considering various options.
Q: The Turkish prime minister just said three hundred thousand Syrians are at its border fleeing Aleppo and you’ve talked about this. What will happen when you go back to the negotiations on February 25th that changes the scenario? Isn’t some of the issue with these strikes that they are trying to get an advantage going into the negotiations?
A: Your remark is another illustration of the fact that we have no time. We cannot wait. We must maximize the pressure on the Syrian regime in order to get the three conditions finally met. Otherwise, these negotiations, again, are simply not possible for the opposition. And that’s why we will continue the pressure, we’ll maximize the pressure, we’ll try to, in good faith, get the Security Council more united than it is on this. But again, the motto here is: we will not give up, because we cannot give up given the enormous number of people killed every day and because of the huge number of refugees. Humanitarian and political situation must go hand in hand; otherwise there will be no solution for the Syrian conflict.