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26 September 2013 - Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People - Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Chair statement (Unoffical translation)

We met today to renew our firm support to the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Following the chemical massacre committed by the Syrian regime against its own people on 21 August, which killed over 1.400 people, we call upon the Security Council to adopt an enforceable and binding resolution to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian regime through a credible, verifiable and timely process. We welcome the Syrian National Coalition’s September 19, 2013 letter to the Security Council, by which it reiterates its willingness to cooperate fully with the UN, the OPCW and other international personnel in charge of dismantling the Syrian chemical weapons programme, and offers its support on the ground for any mission in charge of eliminating the related weapons and equipment. But as the Syrian crisis is greater than the chemical weapons issue alone, it is all the more urgent to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and find a political solution that meets its legitimate aspirations.

Every effort must be made to put an end to the terrible repression exerted by the Syrian regime which continues to use massively all kinds of weapons, including cluster bombs and ballistic missiles. The Syrian regime must immediately release the thousands of men, women and children arbitrarily held in its prisons, and put an end to the massacre of civilian populations.

We are extremely concerned with the continuing deterioration of the situation on the ground and with the dramatic increase of its impact for neighbouring countries. The intense shelling by the regime is causing numerous casualties a day. Seven million people are in a dire need for emergency humanitarian assistance, four million people have been displaced and the number of refugees has exceeded two millions. Safe, full and unimpeded humanitarian access is vital to meet the needs of the Syrian people within Syria, including of the internally displaced persons concentrated in certain areas to seek refuge and protection. The international community should find ways to reach this goal. The Syrian regime must lift all obstacles to humanitarian access, and put an end to the targeting of medical facilities and personnel. The actions of the regime, including the release of terrorist prisoners and the raising of sectarian militias, are fuelling the growth of extremism. We reiterate our determination to support the moderate and democratic opposition in combatting this threat. We share the determination of the Syrian National Coalition to strive for the establishment of a free, democratic, pluralistic, united and sovereign Syria, respectful of human rights and of the rule of law and where every citizens, regardless of their sectarian, religious or ethnic background, will have their place.

We strongly welcome the willingness and readiness of the Coalition to engage in a future Geneva Conference, with the aim of fully implementing the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012. It is urgent to move forward a political solution, involving all constructive players, in order to achieve the swift establishment, by mutual consent, of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers, including control over military forces as well as security and intelligence apparatus. We reiterate our firm position, emanating from the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, that Bashar al-Assad and his close associates cannot be part of this solution. In order to allow a political transition and to empower a credible alternative to both the Syrian regime and extremist groups, we are determined to increase and deepen our support to the Coalition in all its components.

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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