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15 December 2011 - Situation in Syria
Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(In French and in English)

La Russie a enfin a décidé de sortir de son inaction et de nous présenter une résolution sur la Syrie. C’est donc un événement. Elle a senti notre pression, elle a senti la montée de l’indignation, elle a senti aussi, après le rapport de Madame Pillay, qu’il était impossible de ne pas agir. Le texte qui nous est présenté est un texte qui mérite évidement beaucoup d’amendements car il est déséquilibré. Mais c’est un texte sur la base duquel nous allons négocier.

We are positively surprised that eventually Russia has decided to move on the resolution project, on the resolution draft. We think that it is because Russia has felt the pressure of the international community especially after the shocking report of Mrs. Pillay. We are ready to work on this basis, even if we consider that this text is unbalanced. But we are ready to reintroduce a lot of elements which are not right now in the text. I heard a question of the equivalence. This text is in fact putting an equivalence between both sides, this text is not condemning the violation of human rights by Syria which was condemned, by the way, in the presidential statement on the 3rd of August. We have at least to be as strong as we were then. Since then thousand of Syrians have died, since then we had the report of Mrs Pillay and since then we had the initiative of the Arab League. So our text has to reflect the reality on the ground, it has to reflect the report of Mrs Pillay, it has to reflect the Arab league initiative. So there will be a negotiation that we were expecting.


Q: So you said there is an equivalence in the Russian text, the Russian ambassador said there is no equivalence in this text, could you just explain in what way you differ ?

A: For us in the text, there is no equivalence possible. We have to really show that the violence has come from the Syrian regime, that it is the Syrian regime which has shot down thousands of demonstrators. Of course, after 8 months of violence now, some demonstrators are shooting back, but we can’t simply put them back to back, and say that they are all “acts of violence”. The primary responsible of the violence is the behavior of the armed forces, and secondly the refusal of the Syrian regime to engage into a genuine reform.

Q: Ambassador Churkin mentioned arms smuggling, and I also asked if this is not the time to have an arms embargo on all sides.

A: Exactly, I think it is one of the several very relevant questions. It has been raised by our British colleague, and supported by the United States. I think of course, the issue is not only smuggling, it is arms embargo, and it would certainly be one of the amendments that we want to put on the table.

Q: Is condemnation enough for you to accept, or do you have to have some kind of reference to sanctions ?

A: Basically, what I have said is that the only game in town is the Arab League initiative. We have to fully support it, and I remind you that part of the Arab league initiative was sanctions. Several members of the Council have referred to the Arab League sanctions, so I do think that the resolution has, of course, to express our support to the Arab League sanctions.

Thank you.

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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