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4 February 2012 - Syria - Interview of Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, with Skynews

Q : Ambassador how angry were you when the Russians and the Chinese decided to use their veto?

It is not a question of anger, it is a question of not understanding. Frankly we do not understand. We went very far in weakening our text to respond to their objections: there were no sanctions in the text, there was no arms embargo and eventually at the last minute they vetoed this text which was simply supporting the Arab League proposal. It is really sad, especially when the Assad regime is killing its own people by hundreds, that we are not even able to say something simple as “we support the Arab League proposal”.

Q: To what extent does Russia now have the blood of the Syrian people on its hands?

Of course it has it. Now, Russia and China -but Russia especially- have very clearly decided to support the Assad regime whatever this regime is doing. It’s very clear.

Q: What can you do next now that the international community has failed?

The French President has proposed to create a Group of Friends of Syria, out of the Security Council since it is unable to work because it is blocked by Russia. This initiative aims at helping the Arab League to try to find a way out of this crisis. We want also to increase the pressure on the regime by tightening the sanctions that the European Union has already voted. Let’s try to do our best but I fear that the Security Council is no longer the place to act.

Q: To what extent has this evening result totally undermined the credibility of the Security Council?

I’m not sure it is totally undermined because, unfortunately, there are other conflicts where the Security Council has been unable to act, for instance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet the Security Council can’t solve all the problems on earth. Let’s bear in mind that it is doing a great job especially in Africa. But obviously not in Syria.

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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