’The immediate priority is to save lives.’

Syria

Remarks to the press by Mr François Delattre,
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Friday 16 December 2016

As you know, France has called for an emergency meeting on the situation in Aleppo, with a briefing by Stephen O’Brien. Because as I told you we keep having conflicting reports about what is happening on the ground and we want to know exactly what the situation is, and to have an updated presentation of it.

Let’s be clear, the immediate priority is to save lives, to stop the massacres and to avoid a new Srebrenica.

As you know, an agreement was reached for the evacuation of populations in Aleppo. Some evacuations could take place yesterday but thousands remain in Eastern Aleppo. And we heard that the evacuations were put on hold a few hours ago. So we are extremely concerned and again we need to have a clear vision of what the situation is. Number one.

That is why, number two, as I mentioned to you yesterday, France, together with Germany and followed by their European partners made proposals with respect to the evacuation of civilians and to the humanitarian access to Aleppo. In this regard, to be absolutely clear we have 3 priorities:

- First, it is critically urgent that populations be safely evacuated, and be evacuated under the surveillance and coordination of international observers - that’s really the key;

- Second, humanitarian aid to population in need must be ensured immediately and with no condition;

- And third, security and protection of hospitals and medical personnel must be ensured so that they can treat the injured.

These are the proposals that France will submit today at the Security Council. We hope there will be a consensus in the Council on the lines I described to you, to act urgently to save the civilian population in Aleppo through a resolution that we have started drafting.

If not, if there is no consensus within the Security Council, we will have to consider all the other options of the United Nations to move forward, including an emergency special session of the General Assembly that we would fully support.

So long story short, either we have a clear consensus within the Security Council on the lines I described to you, and then we would favor a Security Council resolution. Very quickly. Or we don’t, we have no consensus. If we have no consensus within the Security Council, then we would go for an emergency special session of the General Assembly. The goal of each is to maximize pressure on those who have influence on the ground.

Are you specifically calling for UN observers? How?

Yes. What we believe is that we have to be pragmatic here. There is an emergency, so let’s take the resources that we have on the ground in order to monitor the ceasefire and the evacuation (...).

If there is no consensus in the Security Council and you take this to the General Assembly, you would put your proposals in a GA resolution?

A GA resolution is by definition a bit different, but it’s the same philosophy. We have the two options. What we want is that, depending on the discussions within the Security Council, we go quickly, if possible today. On either choice. Either a Security Council resolution if we can, or otherwise a General Assembly special session.

So you will call for a vote in the Security Council today? Or call a GA special session if there is no consensus?

That’s a possible option, again depending on the outcome of the discussions.

Juste un mot en français s’il vous plait.

En français, simplement pour vous dire que dans l’état d’extrême gravité où se trouve la situation à Alep, la France a demandé cette réunion d’urgence du Conseil de sécurité afin d’avoir d’abord un briefing de Stephen O’Brien, qui est le patron des affaires humanitaires à l’ONU, pour savoir où on en est. Nous avons en effet des rapports contradictoires sur la situation sur le terrain, et on le comprend, la situation est extrêmement mouvante. Il faut savoir précisément où on en est.

Cela veut dire combien de civils il reste… ?

Exactement. De manière aussi précise que possible. Deuxièmement il faut savoir, puisqu’ il y a eu une suspension de l’accord, qui en est responsable, est-ce qu’il y a encore un espoir, ou pas, de remettre cet accord sur les rails. Troisièmement, en fonction de cela et en fonction du briefing que nous fera Stephen O’Brien, soit nous avons un consensus au sein du Conseil de sécurité, Russie comprise pour être clair, afin d’adopter le projet de résolution sur lequel la France a travaillé, que je vais présenter à mes collègues. Dans cette hypothèse, nous sommes favorables au vote de cette résolution du Conseil de sécurité le plus rapidement possible, afin d’établir clairement le cadre des évacuations civils à Alep, de l’assistance humanitaire, bref pour éviter un nouveau Srebrenica.

C’est ce qu’il y a dans le projet de résolution ?

En effet.

Soit ce n’est pas le cas, il n’y a pas de consensus au Conseil de sécurité, et alors nous serions favorables dans cette hypothèse à aller à l’Assemblée générale pour une session spéciale de l’Assemblée générale afin de rassembler la communauté des Nations autour d’une pression maximale sur ceux qui ont de l’influence sur la situation à Alep.

Le but vous disiez c’est qu’il y ait des observateurs qui aillent le plus vite possible à Alep ?

Absolument. Le but, dans notre plan A, c’est d’avoir une résolution du Conseil de sécurité et d’avoir très vite les observateurs à Alep et autour d’Alep, permettant de vérifier que le cessez-le-feu tient, permettant de vérifier que l’évacuation des populations civiles se fait, que l’accès humanitaire, en termes de médicaments, de nourriture, se fait.

Dernière modification : 16/12/2016

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