MOSCOW, RF – French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann, made an unexpected public statement in an interview with the Russian online daily, Kommersant, to the effect that Paris no longer insists on the stepping down of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a precondition for settling the conflict in that country.
However, the wording of her statement evidences a move towards a ‘partition’ position, equally unacceptable to the Syrian people’s legal representatives, and one that mirrors the US’s shift of tactics as well.
She was quoted directly as saying, “We will not decide for the Syrian people, but Bashar al-Assad’s unconditioned resignation is out of the question,” she said adding however that France is ”against the situation when control over territories liberated from terrorists and opposition militants is simply taken by Damascus.”
It must be recalled here that her wording is problematically discordant with international law: Damascus cannot ‘take’ territory which is and has been an integral part of the Syrian state, with Damascus as its capital, recognized internationally by all nations, and by the UN.
She underscored that Syria’s future is a matter of dialogue between the country’s political forces. “The idea that was worded at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi and approved by the United Nations envoy for Syria provided for the establishment of a constitutional committee that would tackle issues of Syria’s new constitution,” she said. “But I think the Syrian regime in not doing it so far.”
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 was supported by all members of the Security Council, including France. Accordingly, the conflict in Syria must be settled on the basis of dialogue between all political forces in that country. The resolution sets the time-frames for presidential and parliamentary elections after an accord is reached. While says nothing about the future of concrete persons, including President Bashar Assad, it does not preclude him.
Syria’s ruling Baath party and its allies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections in early April 2017 across government-held parts of the country, the Syrian national electoral commission announced late Saturday. International observers from over 30 countries concluded that the elections themselves, even under the circumstances of instability and war, were generally free, clean, and fair.