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26 July 2013 - Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(In French and in English)

26 juillet 2013 – Syrie – Remarques à la presse de M. Gérard Araud, représentant permanent de la France auprès des Nations unies

Comme vous le savez M. Al Jarba arrive de Paris où il a rencontré le Président de la République, M. François Hollande. Nous l’avons déjà assuré du soutien de la France.

Nous sortons du Conseil de sécurité avec un sentiment extrêmement positif. M. Al Jarba a condamné le terrorisme, a condamné l’extrémisme. Il a rappelé que la violence trouvait son origine dans l’expression aveugle du gouvernement syrien. Surtout il a affirmé sans aucune ambiguïté la disposition de l’opposition de participer à la conférence de Genève 2 sur la base du communiqué de Genève 1, c’est-à-dire former un gouvernement avec l’ensemble des pouvoirs exécutifs, y compris les forces de sécurité de l’armée. Que voudrait dire en temps de guerre civile un pouvoir exécutif sans un contrôle de l’armée et de la sécurité ?

La réunion d’aujourd’hui a donc été très importante. Je vous rappelle que la coalition nationale syrienne est le seul représentant légitime du peuple syrien aux yeux de l’immense majorité des membres de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies.

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Mr Al Jarba is just coming from Paris where he met with President Hollande. It was the first visit of Mr Al Jarba as President of the National Coalition. President Hollande expressed France support to the Syrian National Coalition.

The presentation by Mr Al Jarba, but also by members of his team like Mr Michel Kilo, was very positive: condemnation of extremism, condemnation of terrorism, aspiration to democracy and an unambiguous commitment to the Geneva meeting. Without any conditions he said “we want to go to Geneva II.” He stated the obvious and said: “According to Geneva I we are supposed to have a transitional government with full executive power. “

Full executive power means the control of the security, the army and the police. How can you imagine a real transition government in the middle of a civil war without the control of the army and the security? It is very clear it includes all the executive powers. It is a not a condition and Mr Al Jarba is simply stating the obvious. On this basis, we hope there will be a Geneva II. But it also means that on the side of the regime we need to hear the same thing. I remind you that Mr Muallem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said publicly that Assad will stay and be candidate in 2014, which is a pre-condition. Everything has to be decided at this conference.

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Q : Did they ask the Security Council to take action against the foreign group like Hezbollah fighting in Syria?

The issue of the radicals has been raised. He clearly recognized there were now radical groups in Syria on both sides. These groups are foreigners; they contradict the Syrian way of thinking and thinking. It is important to say he also emphasized that on one side you have Al-Qaeda but on the other side you also have the Iranian Pasdaran and the Hezbollah. So there are a lot of radical groups.

As for the action of the Security Council, he insisted on a very important element which is the humanitarian situation. Millions of Syrians are displaced, they are suffering. He said the Security Council should act. On the French side, we consider that if there is no Geneva II conference in the short term, the Security Council will have to go back to the issue of humanitarian access.

Q: You said a large majority of UN members recognized the Syrian National Coalition. Which resolution is it based on? Many countries pushed back on it.

107 against 12! This is what I call a very large majority.

Q: But was the purpose of this meeting to obtain a seat at the credential committee for the National Coalition?

We don’t have plans. The delegation was coming for the first time to the UN, to the Security Council. We wanted to listen to them. We did listen to them and their message was a very positive one. When I was saying that the vast majority of the member states recognized the National Coalition I was stating the obvious: 107 against 12 is a very large majority.

Q: What did they say about President Assad?

There is a syllogism: First, full executive power has to be transferred to a transition government, agreed by mutual consent. Second, since all power has been transferred to a transition government, it means that Assad has no power left. It is very simple.

Q: Is there any open commitment from the opposition about a window of time? There is no window of time. They didn’t set any time conditions. They simply said they were ready to go. There will be a meeting in Istanbul at the end of the month where the political bureau of the organization will organize to get ready for the negotiations.

Q: If Assad steps down, it is a sanction. What do you say?

No, because Assad could simply agree. He may remain in his palace and go gardening.

Q: Qu’est-ce qui vous fait penser qu’il y a plus de chances que la conférence de Genève II ait lieu aujourd’hui plutôt qu’hier par rapport à ce que vous avez entendu aujourd’hui et dans la mesure où chacun garde ses positions ?

Ce qui est positif est que certains essayaient de jouer au “blame game”, disant que s’il n’y a pas de Genève II, c’est la faute de l’opposition. Et bien pas du tout, l’opposition vient de nous le dire : ils sont prêts à aller à Genève II sur la base du communiqué de Genève 1.

Q : Damas de son côté garde ses positions.

Posez la question à Damas.


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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