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Syria/UN veto

Published on October 6, 2011
Reply given by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, October 5, 2011

The days go by in Syria and the ever more savage crackdown continues.

At the Security Council in New York yesterday, it was a sad day for the Syrian people and for the image of the United Nations itself.

We thought we had secured 14 out of 15 votes in support of a draft resolution which you yourself said was very – perhaps too? – moderate. At the last minute, Russia and China imposed their veto, leading India, South Africa and Brazil, not to mention Lebanon, to abstain.

Those votes are based on bad arguments. Firstly, it can’t be said that the draft resolution could have paved the way for military intervention, like UNSCR 1973: nothing in the text lends itself to that interpretation.

Secondly, we can’t agree – as Russia and China were demanding of us – to equate a repressive regime with a rebel movement that is today fighting essentially with its bare hands.

So we’re going to continue our action, firstly within the European Union, where we’ve already imposed seven rounds of targeted sanctions against figures complicit in the crackdown. We’re going to step up our contacts with the Syrian opposition, which is getting organized: a Syrian National Council was formed in Istanbul a few days ago, and we’d like it to broaden out to all Syrian strands of opinion, particularly the Christian minority.

Nor do we rule out taking fresh initiatives at the Security Council, in full agreement with our European Union partners.

France takes a very clear political and diplomatic line: we won’t ditch those in Syria who are fighting for freedom./.

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