Thank you for having taken the initiative to organize this important meeting. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Nabil al-Arabi, the Joint Special Envoy, Mr. Kofi Annan, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr. Ivan Simonovic for their statements. France also endorses the statement made by the EU.
After 15 months of a brutal crackdown which has left almost 13,000 people dead, the Houla massacre on May 25, which resulted in the death of 108 civilians including 49 children, represents the most serious violation of the ceasefire since April 12. There can be no doubt that the responsibility for this carnage clearly lies with the Syrian authorities. The international community unanimously condemned this brutal act, documented by the UN observers, whether at the Security Council or the Human Rights Council, through a resolution adopted by a very large majority, which notably called on the International Commission of Inquiry to identify those responsible. But to no avail. In Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, horror follows on from horror. Indeed, we’ve learned that between 50 and 80 people, including women and children, were reportedly massacred yesterday in Qubeir in the region of Hama. The Secretary-General has just told us that, in addition, the Syrian regime prevented access by the observers to this site. It’s unacceptable. The UN observers must have unimpeded access to the area in order to establish the facts, in accordance with their mandate. While the regime is guilty of heinous crimes, and flouts all of its commitments, there should be no impunity in Syria. Those responsible for the atrocities must be held accountable.
Today, 4 months after resolution 66/256 by this General Assembly which signaled massive support for the Arab League’s courageous initiative and called on the Secretary-General to continue his supportive action, notably by appointing a special envoy, we have a Joint UN and Arab League Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, as well as a plan to resolve the crisis, the six-point proposal. This plan was unanimously endorsed by the Security Council through two presidential statements and two resolutions.
Despites these efforts, the Syrian regime remains deaf to the appeals of the international community and the crackdown is being relentlessly pursued, pushing the country to the brink of civil war and even threatening regional stability. It’s a matter of urgency; the Syrian regime must stop massacring its people and finally commit to implementing the Annan plan.
In this context, the international community must remain united and fully mobilized in order to lend its full support to Kofi Annan’s action, help put an end to the violence and allow a credible political transition to get under way. This involves conveying messages of the utmost firmness to the Syrian authorities who must understand that there will be consequences for the persistent violations of their commitments and the continuation of the crackdown. It is our collective responsibility.
For its part, France will spare no effort to mobilize the international community in order to stop the violence and to initiate a political process. To this end, as President Hollande announced, France will host the 3rd meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People group on July 6. This meeting will notably provide an opportunity to reaffirm our support for Kofi Annan’s 6-point plan, as well as for the action of UNSMIS, and to continue exerting the necessary pressure on the Syrian regime.