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27 May 2012 - Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr Martin Briens, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations

(in French and in English)

Comme vous le savez, le Conseil de sécurité vient d’entendre un briefing du général Mood, le commandant de la mission des Nations Unies en Syrie.

La France avait demandé dès hier que le Conseil de sécurité condamne dans les termes les plus fermes le massacre commis à Houla. Dans le prolongement du communiqué conjoint du Secrétaire général et de l’Envoyé spécial conjoint, nous avons proposé aux quinze membres du Conseil de réagir au plus vite en adoptant une déclaration à la presse.

Certaines délégations ayant demandé que nous ayons un exposé précis sur les faits intervenus à Houla, nous venons d’entendre de la bouche même du chef des observateurs ce qu’il a pu constater sur le terrain.

Le constat est accablant. Le général Mood a confirmé l’horreur du massacre survenu à Houla vendredi. Les termes dans lesquels il nous a décrit la situation dépassent l’entendement. Il a rendu compte de l’absence totale de considération la plus élémentaire pour la vie humaine. Il a fait état de 108 victimes dont 49 enfants.

Avec ces nouveaux crimes, le régime assassin de Bachar al Assad enfonce encore davantage la Syrie dans l’horreur et menace la stabilité régionale. Il viole une nouvelle fois ses obligations au titre du droit international, au titre des résolutions 2042 et 2043 et au titre du plan Annan.

C’est intolérable et c’est dans cette optique que le Conseil de sécurité a adopté la déclaration à la presse que vous venez d’entendre.

Le Conseil de sécurité exige que le gouvernement syrien mette un terme immédiatement à l’utilisation des armes lourdes, retire ses troupes et ses chars des centres urbains et renvoie les militaires dans leurs casernes.

Le régime de Bachar al Assad ne peut continuer à violer plus longtemps ses obligations sauf à risquer la fin du plan Annan. Kofi Anna se rendra très prochainement à Damas pour porter ce message du Conseil et nous lui avons réitéré notre plein soutien ainsi qu’à la MISNUS.

Il faut que le régime comprenne qu’il doit absolument et immédiatement inverser sa logique et respecter ses obligations. Une solution pacifique de la crise en Syrie ne peut naitre que d’un processus politique. La poursuite par le gouvernement syrien de sa politique de répression brutale n’autorise pas le lancement de ce processus.

Nous espérons que le message du Conseil aujourd’hui et le fait que Kofi Annan se rende à Damas pour le porter puisse sortir la Syrie d’une spirale qui mène directement au chaos.

As you know we’ve just heard a briefing by General Mood and Hervé Ladsous about the massacre that took place in Houla a couple of days ago.

France had asked for the Council to react rapidly and in very strong terms to the massacre committed in Houla. Following the joint statement by the Joint Special Envoy and the Secretary General, we proposed to the members of the Council to react as soon as possible through a press statement, which has just been read.

The briefing by General Mood was very damning for the Syrian government as it confirmed the horror which took place in Houla on Friday. In particular, General Mood mentioned that the observers were able to see 108 victims including 49 children.

With these crimes, Bashar Al-Assad regime is plunging Syria even more into horror and chaos and is threatening regional stability. It violates once more its commitments under international law, resolutions 2042 and 2043 and also the Annan plan.

This is not tolerable and this is why it was extremely important for the Council to express itself today. The Council has recalled the commitment of the Syrian government especially the fact that it must immediately stop using heavy weapons, withdraw its troops and send back its soldiers to their barracks. But also, the Council is reminding that the regime cannot any longer continue to violate its obligations because it risks jeopardizing the Annan plan.

The second very important message from the Council is its reiteration of its full support to Kofi Annan, especially its upcoming trip to Damascus, and to UNSMIS.

Q : According to the Russians, it is reported that many victims were killed by shot guns at short range ?

What we heard from General Mood very clearly is that tanks and artillery canons shelled residential areas killing civilians. We heard also from him that some civilians were killed by gun shots and other forms of violence. It’s not one or the other. In terms of means, we know that a massive number of civilians have been killed, some by heavy shelling, which is totally intolerable, and some through other means. From this point of view, the information given to us by General Mood and also reflected in the statement yesterday from the Secretary General and Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan is extremely clear.

Q : The report did not mention the abduction of 11 eleven Lebanese by the Syrian opposition.

Today’s focus was the massacre that took place in Houla. We know there are lots of developments everywhere in Syria, but today the focus was on the massacre that really defies imagination, that goes beyond everything that had happened so far.

Q : Is it similar to the situation in Algeria in the 90’s where somebody tried to create strive between Sunnis and Shi’a by committing this crimes ?

What we heard today clearly shows the responsibility of the Syrian government in failing to protect its civilians, and directly attacking them through heavy shelling. There is no further comment to this, it is very clear.

Learn more on Syria.



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