4 May 2016 - "With Aleppo the very future of Syria is at stake" [fr]
Alep (Syrie) - Remarks to the press M. François Delattre,Permanent representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 4 May 2016
As you know, France, together with the United Kingdom, requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to alert the international community about the situation in Syria and in Aleppo in particular. Because with Aleppo, for the reasons I mentioned yesterday, the very future of Syria is at stake. And you remember yesterday I said that Aleppo is to Syria what Sarajevo was to Bosnia and I consider that the comparison — of course mutatis mutandis —is valuable.
The situation in Aleppo indeed is dramatic: since April 22nd, the regime launched a new offensive, including many indiscriminate attacks against civilians. More than 280 people were killed in recent days, mostly civilians.
Today, violations of the truce are increasing; the cessation of hostilities and the political process are threatened with the risk of a full return to war.
Let’s call a spade a spade : the regime of Bashar Al-Assad is responsible for this spiral of violence. So France calls on the regime’s allies to use all their influence on Damascus in order to end the fighting and in order for the peace process to resume and to resume quickly.
Let me conclude by saying that France is fully mobilized to that end, three points here:
o The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault is currently in Berlin to meet, together with his German counterpart, with Mr. de Mistura and the head of the High Negotiations Committee Mr. Riyad Hijab, this is number one;
o Number two, France will also organize on Monday, May 9th, a ministerial meeting on the situation in Syria;
o Following what Staffan told us last week, France is requesting a meeting of the International Syria Support Group as swiftly as possible.
So here we are. And again, we consider that the situation is very serious in Aleppo and that we have to speak out.
Q: Is there an agreement about a cease-fire?
A: That was the announcement a few minutes ago but to my knowledge it has not be confirmed yet. Of course that would be encouraging news if this is confirmed; this is not the case as we speak. But in any circumstance, we need to do what we have to do, and in particular the three actions that I was referring to.
Q : Ressentez-vous des réticences des Américains et les Russes à organiser cette réunion du groupe de soutien international à la Syrie ?
A : Nous encourageons les uns et les autres à organiser d’urgence, dans les meilleurs délais cette rencontre. Qu’il y ait un leadership russe et américain sur la cessation des hostilités c’est une chose, que l’on voit jour après jour cet accord de cessation des hostilités prendre l’eau de toute part jusqu’à être menacé d’effondrement en est une autre. Et dans ce contexte nous considérons qu’il y a urgence pour une appropriation collective du processus et — pour appeler un chat un chat — une pression collective très forte sur le régime de Damas.
Q: Do you expect a presidential statement to come out or a press statement?
A: We’ve said from the beginning that we are in favor of an expression of the Security Council, it remains to be seen whether it’s possible.