The key word on Syria is extreme vigilance
Syria / UN funding - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 26 January 2017
Q : On Syria humanitarian, it doesn’t seem there has been too much change in abilities to get things in despite Astana cease?
The key word on Syria is extreme vigilance. Extreme vigilance regarding the respect of the ceasefire, which is not the case as we speak; extreme vigilance with respect to the humanitarian aid access, which is not the case as we speak; and extreme vigilance with respect to using the energy and the outcome of Astana to come back to a UN process, where the UN has to be front and center, meaning also coming back to political talks and negotiations within the framework of resolution 2254 and the Geneva communique.
Q: There is a New York Times report that the new US administration is about to cut funding for crucial UN programs. Do you have any comment about that?
I think it is a bit early to comment because to my knowledge there has not been any official announcement or decision in this respect, but of course we watch this topic very carefully. If I may say, what a difference a few years make. As France’s ambassador to Washington in the early 2000s, my key message to the White House was basically “let us breathe, don’t micromanage the world”. A few years later, our main message to the American administration is “please stay committed to world affairs, because we need America”.
That’s the overall line but again it is too early to comment since there has not been any decision, and I look forward to working very closely and in the best spirit with Nikki Haley. As I told you, I have known her from my previous position, when I visited her in South Carolina. We have good contacts because when I went there I brought some important French investments - and the corresponding jobs - to South Carolina.
Q: Would France be ready to step in and fill in any gaps in funding to crucial programs that US pull in, I mean you are P5 member too?
You know France’s commitment to the UN, we believe that the role of the UN is today more important than ever, given the many common challenges we have to face together. Number two, the reform of the UN, we have been crystal clear for years about it, is a key priority for France; and the new SG has made it a key priority too. So again, let’s work together, it is too early to comment on what is not a decision at this stage, not an official announcement, but just press comments.
Q: What about the safe zones the Trump administration proposes for Syria?
On the safe zones, we have been opened to this idea since it was floated a few months and years ago. We are aware of the challenges that come with this idea but we are ready to work in a very good spirit with the American administration and with all our partners to see the feasibility of this idea. The French position has always been opened in this regard.