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3 August 2012 - Syria - Interview given by Gérard Araud, President of the Security Council, to the BBC

I speak as President of the Security Council. When I left the room of the General Assembly I said that one side I was very happy of this result because this is a colossal majority with 133 votes in favour of the resolution. On the other side, I am very sad because the Security Council has failed to fulfil its mission. I think that the resolution which has been voted was right. The Security Council is blocked. We have been unable to overcome three vetoes by Russia and China.

Q: The General Assembly can pass as many resolutions as it likes, but it won’t change the simple fact that the Security Council is blocked…

Exactly, it doesn’t change it. The danger is that, the Security Council being unable to act, some countries will go out of the United Nations. I think that it is very likely to happen in the coming days or coming weeks.

Q: Does that mean that there is no really useful role now for the Security Council as far as Syria is concerned?

I don’t want to be that definitive but yesterday for instance we had a meeting which should have been routine meeting and my Russian colleague was extremely negative. So I think that we can conclude that on the short term if there is no dramatic development on the ground I don’t see how the Security Council could act.

But I hope we are not divided on the humanitarian ground, so maybe the Security Council could work on the humanitarian access.

Q: Western powers have been very critical of Russia and China in blocking the various attempts in the Security Council to increase pressure on President Assad. But there is criticism that can be made to Western powers as well. Isn’t it right that some Gulf States have been encouraging the opposition fighters, in some cases with weapons and with money, to promote battle whether than so seek for a diplomatic solution?

If we follow your logic, it means that you shouldn’t deliver weapons to the opposition so it will allow the government, which is receiving weapons and which has a lot of weapons, to crush the opposition. I don’t think that this accusation is fair, especially because when you look at the reality on the ground for the last seventeen months, the opposition has not had heavy weapons. For instance, you have never seen one helicopter or one plane shot down by the opposition, which would be very easy with a manpad.(2:50) So yes I guess that they have received weapons but not massively and the massive influx of weapons is on the side of the government.

Q: France is President of the Security Council for the month of August, do you have any thoughts as to proposals you might put to the Council regarding Syria?

The new French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Fabius, has told his intention to organize at the end of the month a ministerial meeting at the Security Council. First we will try to overcome our divisions but also we will speak about the humanitarian access. Right now no NGO, no international organisation has humanitarian access to the Syrians. Three millions of Syrians are in a dire situation. So maybe we could have a unify message at Security Council on the issue.

Q: You talk about a humanitarian access, you talk also about security for the people delivering that assistance, would it mean some kind of international presence on the ground?

You see all the difficulties of something as simple as asking humanitarian access. You are right. It will be tough and I am not sure that we will succeed but I think it is necessary to try. The situation of the Syrian population is awful and not only in Aleppo but all over the country. So we should ask for humanitarian access.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU