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2 July 2012 - Security Council - Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

In French and in English

En décembre 2011, lorsque Mme Pillay avait décrit la situation, à un moment où déjà plus de 5000 Syriens avaient été tués, j’avais exprimé à cette époque mon indignation que le Conseil de sécurité ne fasse rien, et ne fasse rien après un véto russe.

Depuis décembre un second véto russe est intervenu et le régime syrien a pu continuer à tuer. A l’heure actuelle nous en sommes à près de 15 000 morts et les témoignages de Mme Pillay ont été absolument accablants. Aujourd’hui mon sentiment est plutôt un sentiment de tristesse. Tristesse tout d’abord pour des raisons humaines, lorsqu’on lit tout ce qui concerne les souffrances, les tortures, les assassinats, l’utilisation des hôpitaux par l’armée syrienne comme états-majors. Mais aussi tristesse politique, dans la mesure où le Conseil de sécurité n’a rien fait et dans la mesure où cela permet la radicalisation du conflit. Aujourd’hui, nous sommes après la réunion du 30 juin à Genève. Le message est très clair : nous devons mettre en œuvre le plan Annan, ce qui veut dire que nous devons faire pression sur le régime syrien afin qu’il accepte une transition qui permette au peuple syrien de décider démocratiquement de son sort. Mais le temps presse car nous devons avant le 20 juillet décider si nous renouvelons ou ne renouvelons pas la mission des Nations-Unies.

Questions

Q: Is the Council going to refer Syria to the ICC?

R: As France is concerned, it is very clear that we are very much in favour of referring Syria to the ICC. The problem is that it will have to be part of a global agreement of the Council and for the moment we have not yet reached this point.

Q: Where in the Geneva text do you find the idea that Assad must leave? Also could UNSMIS become a political mission?

The text has a value. The transitional government will have to be designed by mutual consent. If the opposition agrees to keep Bashar al-Assad, he’ll remain. But nobody can really believe that it could be acceptable. No, I think it’s a rearguard battle fought by our Russian friends.

As for the UNSMIS, as general Mood has said, and that’s the reason why the general Mood has suspended the activities of the mission, without a political process, the observers mission simply couldn’t work because it’s too dangerous. And this mission by itself can’t stop the violence. So we need a political process. This was the reason why there was this meeting in Geneva, because Kofi Annan couldn’t deliver by himself the political process. So he asked some countries to help him.

We are back to the question, political process or not political process. If there is no political process, it is very clear that we cannot simply keep the observers on the ground. The question would be: are we going to withdraw all the mission, or part of the mission? Are we going to keep the observers in the region or are we going to keep them in Damascus? It will depend on what is going to happen in the coming days. If there is any chance that a political process might start, of course it will be different and the observers will be necessary. But if this is not the case, we will have to look at the options ranging from closing the mission to downgrading it.

Q: Kofi Annan a semblé regretter les initiatives unilatérales qui divisent la communauté internationale. Est-ce qu’aujourd’hui le Groupe des amis de la Syrie constitue un obstacle à l’unité de la communauté internationale sur ce problème ?

R : M. Annan, par le biais de son adjoint a toujours participé à ces réunions, donc je ne suis pas sûr que votre interprétation soit la bonne. L’utilité de la réunion le 6 juillet à Paris du Groupe des amis de la Syrie, c’est justement à la fois de parler à l’opposition, car nous avons besoin d’avoir une opposition unie, et également de montrer que la communauté internationale, au-delà du Groupe d’action, au-delà du Conseil de sécurité, est unie pour faire pression sur le régime syrien.

Q : Au cours de ces dernières semaines, on a beaucoup parlé de soumettre un projet de résolution sous chapitre 7 avec menaces de sanctions.

R : Pour le moment nous devons d’abord voir si ce qui s’est passé à Genève a des conséquences sur le terrain, si le plan de Genève est mis en œuvre. Nous attendrons d’abord que M. Annan nous dise ce dont il a besoin.

Q: Do you believe that the minorities in Syria need protection and international attention given that this conflict is becoming more and more a civil war?

R: We do think that any political agreement in Syria will certainly have to handle the issue of minorities. The way it will do it will be up to the Syrians to decide.

Q: Une invitation a été lancée à la Chine et à la Russie pour qu’ils participent à la réunion du Groupe des amis…

R : Ils ne viendront pas.

Q : General Mood said another condition to start again the mission was to have assurance from the opposition. How would it be possible to start again the mission if there are so many oppositions?

R: It is not only the question of the observers; it’s also the question of the political negotiation. The consequence of your question is that we have to go back home because there is nothing to do. The problem is that the opposition is divided because people are defending their cities, people are defending Homs, people are defending Deraa, and so on. So there are local groups which are resisting to the aggression of the army. What we are trying to do, what the League of the Arab states has tried to do, what Europeans have tried to do through different meetings is to unite the opposition, or at least to have a sort of umbrella organization which could be able to speak on behalf of the opposition. But it’s not only for the observers; it’s also for the transition process, because if there is a transition, we will need to have two sides: the regime and also the opposition.

Q: Do you really feel that the outcome of this meeting in Geneva really gives any hope to those suffering from human rights violations in Syria?

R: A diplomat is not handling hopes. What we are trying, is not to do what we want, but to do what we can. The Geneva agreement was the upmost that we could get considering the divisions within the international community. It is useless to say that it is enough or it is not enough; it is what we have. But we have to work and we do know it will be only for a political transition that we could hope to solve the Syrian crisis.

Lear more on 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