Paris, March 9, 2012

Excerpt from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, Friday 9 March 2012)

Syria

Decision adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO on Syria

We welcome the decision adopted yesterday by the Executive Board of UNESCO by a very large majority condemning the human rights violations perpetrated by the Syrian regime.

We also understand from this decision that UNESCO will suspend its cooperation with Syria.

Once again, the very broad support for this decision reflects the increasing isolation of the Syrian regime which is retreating a little further every day into a spiral of deadly violence.

UNESCO is thus the third international body, after the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, to very strongly condemn the Damascus regime’s crackdown. Reports mention “the continued widespread and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities…”

Reaction to the defections by the deputy oil minister and 4 generals

This decision by senior officials from the Syrian government and army reflects the isolation and further disintegration of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

All of the Damascus regime’s officials should recognize that they are in a situation of deadlock and do the same.

The Assad clan has closed itself off. The apparent cohesion of Syrian power stems from a policy of terror, which cannot prevail in the long term over the aspirations for freedom and dignity.

Resolution

The minister has just voiced his opinion in Morocco regarding this issue.

We don’t want a resolution that sends the wrong message. There’s no comparison between the brutal crackdown that the Bashar al-Assad clan has been imposing for months now and the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for the respect of their fundamental rights.

In our view, a possible resolution, which is still under discussion, must :

- be very firm regarding the responsibility of the regime’s security forces ;

- allow humanitarian access ;

- encourage a political solution ;

- ensure that there will be no impunity for the perpetrators of the violence and the brutal crackdown imposed against their own population for nearly a year.

UNSC meeting on the Arab Springs next Monday

The Ministre d’Etat will go to New York on Monday, March 12 in order to participate in a Security Council ministerial meeting on the challenges and opportunities presented by the changes in the Arab world with respect to international peace and security. This meeting was initiated by the United Kingdom, which holds the presidency of the Security Council in March, and which we fully support.

The Ministre d’Etat will reaffirm the vital role of the United Nations in supporting all solutions aimed at responding to the aspirations of peoples for freedom, respect for human rights and democracy. He will also reaffirm our unqualified commitment to these movements, which are equally legitimate and relentless, and will endeavor to convince all our partners of the need to take action in this direction.

Meeting between the Ministre d’Etat and Mr. Walid Jumblatt

On March 8, the Ministre d’Etat received Mr. Walid Jumblatt. The meeting notably focused on the situation in Lebanon and Syria. Mr. Alain Juppé reaffirmed France’s attachment to the sovereignty, security and stability of Lebanon.

He also expressed the wish that Lebanon be protected from the consequences of the Syrian crisis and that all political actors in Lebanon direct their efforts to ensuring that this is the case. Lastly he commended the action of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to receive and protect the Syrians fleeing the crisis and seeking refuge in Lebanon and expressed the wish that the Lebanese authorities would continue to cooperate with the UNHCR.

ETA communiqué

You know our consistent positions.

France stands alongside Spain and the Spanish government in the efforts to put a definitive end to the violence.

Following ETA’s announcement on October 20, 2011, that it would put a definitive end to its armed activities, we, like Spain, expect the terrorist organization to announce the complete disarmament of its members.

We’re engaging in close and continuous consultation and cooperation with the Spanish authorities to combat terrorism.

Dernière modification : 09/03/2012

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