|Veronique Besse, head of French Assembly study group on Eastern Christians, makes waves on her return from Syria.|
Midi Libre, October 29, 2015
Translated from French by Tom Winter, October 30, 2015
France “indirectly supports (the group) Islamic State” in Syria, said Véronique Besse, MP from Vendée and member of the Movement for France (MPF), who just met Bashar al-Assad in Damascus with two other Christian Right deputies.
“Today they are indirectly supporting the Islamic State. (…). This is what we were told there.”
“France supports moderate groups – so-called moderate – but who are close to Al Qaeda and so close to the Islamic state,” she assured RMC (Radio Monte Carlo), on her return from Syria. “Notably, France supports Al-Nosra,” she said, eager to clarify this statement … “Today France indirectly supports the Islamic State. (…). It is what we were told anyway there.”
Choosing between Assad or Daech
Jean-Frédéric Poisson, president of the Christian Democratic Party, for his part said on RTL radio that Assad “considers in any case that the passivity of France to go against Daech effectively and actually (…) gives the impression that France, in an indirect manner, supports the Islamic State.” “The situation in Syria is either Daech or Assad. France has not made a clear choice in this alternative. She tries to invent a third-party solution that does not exist, saying that ‘Assad must go before anything can be done.’ I think he will not leave. Bashar al-Assad is in power, he will not leave, he is not desperate, we must talk to him,” said Poisson.
“Outrageous allegations” according to Elisabeth Guigou
These remarks spurred the head of the Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Elisabeth Guigou (PS), who “strongly condemned the outrageous allegations” of the two parliamentarians. Their “unworthy” remarks are “direct evidence of their manipulation by the head of the Syrian regime, co-responsible for the continuing war and its attendant atrocities,” she said in a statement.
President of the Assembly Claude Bartolone disapproved of “both the trip and the words that were spoken,” when speaking as a guest on Radio Orient. “I think it creates more difficulties; that it doesn’t bring solutions to enable both pro-government people and those who are in rebellion, and belong to the moderate circles,* to get together to be able to represent themselves to find a solution for Syria,” said Mr Bartolone.
Mme. Besse and M. Poisson also pleaded for the restoration of a French diplomatic representation in Syria. “Despite all the evil that Europeans say about him, Assad is ready for it, if ever France requested it, to restore diplomatic representation in Syria,” Mr. Poisson said. “You have to talk to those considered as adversaries. That’s what diplomacy is, right?” MP for Ain, Xavier Breton, was the third member of the trip, with M. Poisson, the sole member of the Christian Democratic Party, affiliated with the Republicans, and Mme. Besse, who is co-chair of the study group on Eastern Christians in the Assembly.