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Official speeches and statements - April 7, 2017

Published on April 7, 2017

1. Syria - American strikes - Joint communiqué issued by Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (Paris - April 7, 2017)

The President and the German Chancellor spoke on the telephone this morning about the situation in Syria.

In the wake of the chemical massacre perpetrated in Khan Sheikhoun, north-east Syria, on 4 April, a military installation of the Syrian regime used for chemical bombing was destroyed overnight by American strikes. We were informed of this beforehand.

Assad is wholly responsible for this development. Indeed, his continued recourse to chemical weapons and mass crimes cannot remain unpunished. This is what France demanded in the summer of 2013 the day after the Ghouta chemical attack.

France and Germany will therefore continue their efforts with their partners in the United Nations framework to punish in the most appropriate way criminal acts linked to the use of chemical weapons banned by all the treaties.

We call on the international community to come together to support a political transition in Syria, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué.


2. Syria - American strikes - Statement to the press by Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic (Annonay - April 7, 2017)

Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons. It’s not the first time: in August 2013 he had already gassed his people. I then called for there to be a response and for an operation to be conducted with the United States.

Chemical weapons have now been used again. After informing us, the Americans decided to strike a number of installations in Syria. I believe this operation was a response. It must now be continued at international level in the United Nations framework, if that is possible, so that we can carry through the sanctions against Bashar al-Assad and prevent chemical weapons being used again and the regime crushing its own people again.

Because of this tragedy, because of this situation, there’s a possibility today of opening negotiations and enabling a political transition in Syria. This is why, with its partners—particularly its European ones, and I’ve spoken to Chancellor Merkel—, France is going to take every initiative so we can relaunch the political transition process in Syria.

I’ll be convening a meeting of the Defence Council this evening at 7.00 p.m. to see how France can build on this initiative.

Thank you.


3. Syria - American strikes - Interview given by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France Info (Paris - April 7, 2017)

The Americans have provided the beginnings of a clarification. In recent days we’ve been hearing conflicting arguments. Here we have an act which is a sort of condemnation.

Previously, the impression we got was that the Americans had one priority, namely the fight against Daesh [so-called ISIL]—and we too have that priority—, but forgetting the necessary political transition in Syria.

A signal has been sent here, and I’ll have the opportunity, as I said yesterday evening to my American counterpart, Mr Rex Tillerson, to continue the discussions with him. The Russians and Iranians must now understand that there’s no point in supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime as they’re doing, alone and disgracefully.

It’s time to return to what was decided with them—in particular the Russians at the Security Council—, namely the foundations of the political transition, which must involve the Geneva negotiations, and they must be in-depth, sincere and effective negotiations and not just for show.


4. Syria - Sending of humanitarian assistance to the victims of the attack in Khan Sheikhoun - Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris - April 6, 2017)

Following the chemical attack on 4 April 2017 carried out by the Syrian regime in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, wanted to send emergency humanitarian assistance to the victims of this attack and to the health workers treating them.

Almost 500 kilos of emergency medicines to combat the effects of chemical weapons, as well as full protective equipment will be sent via Turkey and distributed by an NGO, the Union des Organisations de Secours et Soins Médicaux (UOSSM).

The resources were put together by the Ministry’s crisis and support center, with the contribution of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior.

France strongly condemned the attack on 4 April, which constitutes another unacceptable violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and further evidence of the barbarity suffered by the Syrian people for so many years. It calls for a unanimous response from the international community to such practices.

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