Visit to Russia
Q. – Do you envisage the possibility of a repeat in Syria of the Libyan scenario, which required a military operation?
THE MINISTER – Syrian people have the right to freedom and security. With her American, British and German allies, France has insistently called for the departure of Bashar al-Assad, who is discrediting himself daily with unacceptable repression against his country’s people. This is why France actively supports international efforts to put pressure on the regime by means of political and financial sanctions. Military intervention isn’t conceivable today because there’s no international mandate and the circumstances regarding Syria differ a great deal from those which prevailed in Libya. But the Security Council can’t remain at a standstill faced with this intolerable situation: it’s our responsibility as permanent members to take action to step up the pressure on Bashar al-Assad.
RUSSIA/NATO/EUROPEAN ANTI-MISSILE DEFENCE SYSTEM
Q. – The possible creation of a joint European anti-missile defence system is an essential issue in Russia-NATO relations. Why, in your view, aren’t the parties managing to find a common position on this? Is Paris ready to take on board the concerns of Russia, who is demanding legal guarantees from NATO that the future system won’t be directed against her
THE MINISTER – Since the Lisbon summit of November 2010, NATO and Russia have shown their determination to work together to narrow their differences in approach, despite the complexity of this kind of cooperation. France would like Russia to be fully involved in the allied anti-missile defence system and her legitimate interests taken into account so that this system is given a real pan-European dimension. For this to happen, she supports a pragmatic, incremental approach. The NATO-Russia Council meeting of defence ministers of 8 June 2011 showed that there was still work to be done to bring points of view into closer alignment. This work is going to continue over the next few months. (…)./.