Paris, April 3, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 3rd April 2012)
What did you think after Kofi Annan’s speech in New York yesterday ?
The special envoy informed the Security Council that Syrian officials had pledged to halt the violence by April 10. That move must begin now.
There is a deadline, which is April 10. Bashar al-Assad must now implement three immediate measures, to which he has agreed : to “immediately cease troop movement towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centers, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers.”
We cannot tolerate the continuation of violence. That date must imperatively be respected by Syrian officials ; if not, they will be considered in violation of the demands set forth by the Security Council in its presidential statement of March 21.
What will happen if the Damascus regime does not cooperate with Kofi Annan ?
If the al-Assad regime does not cooperate with Kofi Annan, you can imagine the gravity of the situation with respect to the special envoy representing the UN Security-General and the Arab League, at the request and with the support of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Friends of the Syrian People.
If the regime continues its evasions and massacres, it will be flouting and insulting the international community as a whole.
In that case, we will have to take the appropriate action.
What do you think of Mr. Kellenberger’s visit to Syria ?
France supports the efforts of the ICRC whose president, Jakob Kellenberger, is currently in Syria and is doing his utmost to ensure that the organization has free, unfettered access to the victims of the crackdown, while abiding by its principles of independence and neutrality.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is extremely troubling. Since the beginning of the crackdown against the protest movement in that country, more than 10,000 people have perished and 75,000 have been injured. 65,000 people have disappeared, more than 210,000 have been imprisoned and more than 50, 000 have been displaced to the neighbouring countries.
The situation is tragic.
Following Valérie Amos’s recent trip to Homs on March 7-9, this latest visit underscores the urgent need to establish humanitarian access to Syria in order to help the civilian population. It is in this urgent context that Syrian officials are implementing Kofi Annan’s plan, which they say they’ve accepted, and one of whose six points provides for guaranteeing humanitarian access to civilian populations.
What are France’s priorities with respect to Mali ?
France has asked the UN Security Council to meet today with regard to the situation in Mali in order to support ECOWAS efforts to find a solution, to reiterate its commitment to Mali’s unity and territorial integrity, to call on rebels to immediately end the fighting in northern Mali, to underscore the need to immediately and effectively restore constitutional order, and to condemn the terrorist acts perpetrated by AQIM.
We proposed a text for our partners in this regards. Consultations are under way.
Colombia – Release of 10 hostages
Together with the government and people of Colombia, France welcomes the release of 10 police and military hostages who had been held by guerrilla fighters, as well as the FARC’s announcement that it would end hostage-taking.
France shares in the joy of the families. It applauds the actions of the Colombian government, the role of the mediators—particularly the association ASFAMIPAZ and its president, Marleny Orjuela—and the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Brazilian government, which facilitated this operation.
France calls once again for an end to all acts of terrorism in Colombia, the release of all hostages, a halt to the recruitment of child soldiers by illegal groups, and a renunciation of the use of antipersonnel mines—necessary conditions for the establishment of a lasting peace in that country, which is a friend to France.