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Published on June 16, 2011
Reply by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to a question at the National Assembly

Paris, June 14, 2011

The crackdown being perpetrated by the Syrian regime against its civilian population elicits outrage and demands condemnation. France swiftly expressed her unequivocal and firm condemnation.

The situation is steadily deteriorating, with extremely violent clashes in Jisr al-Shughour in recent days. A large number of Syrian refugees are now crossing the Turkish border, and incidents have taken place at the border between Syria and Israel; likewise, there has been fighting in the Palestinian camps in Syria.

What can we do? France can only – and wants only to – act within the framework of international law. We’ve already done so at European Union level by adopting sanctions, including against the Syrian President.

At the Security Council – despite all the efforts we’re making, in particular with the British and the Americans – we still haven’t achieved our goal.

Indeed, China and Russia are threatening – for their own reasons of principle – to exercise their right of veto. We won’t take the risk of putting a draft resolution condemning the Syrian regime to a vote if we don’t reach a sufficient majority. Today, we probably have nine votes at the Security Council. We still need to persuade South Africa, India and Brazil; we’re working on this every day. I think that if things changed so we were able to get 11 votes, we would put this draft resolution to a vote and everyone would have to shoulder their responsibilities; we’d then see if China and Russia would go as far as using their veto.

In any event, I repeat that we’re working on this issue with the utmost determination, in close collaboration with our British and European partners./.

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