Last week I was saying – in reply to Jean-Christophe Lagarde – that glimmers of hope had appeared at the Security Council, which I visited. Sadly, a few days later Russia, followed by China, vetoed the draft resolution we had prepared.
I’d like to emphasize that the Security Council’s 13 other members, including India, Pakistan and South Africa, approved the draft resolution. I believe very little is to be expected from the visit the Russian Foreign Minister is currently paying to Damascus. It’s likely that Bashar al-Assad will make promises he won’t keep.
What can we do? People are talking to us about a military intervention in Syria, like the one we carried out in Libya. The circumstances are radically different. We won’t secure a Security Council mandate and, furthermore, there would be an extremely high risk of civil war in a country split between hostile communities.
So our diplomatic efforts are focusing on three central objectives. Firstly, we’re going to convene a meeting of the friends of the Syrian people, the 13 Security Council members who passed the [draft] resolution, European Union partners and the major emerging countries – such as Turkey – to increase pressure on what is holding things up and also on Bashar al-Assad himself.
Secondly, in Brussels, we’re going to step up sanctions again, particularly on the Central Bank of Syria.
Thirdly, we’re supporting the Syrian opposition. I had a meeting again yesterday with the Chairman of the Syrian National Council, Mr Ghalioun, to assure him of our support and see, with him, how we can help him organize and open up the Syrian National Council.
The Syrian people have been cruelly tormented for months. Their agony will leave a moral stain on the image of the United Nations Security Council. France is not giving up on helping these brave, tormented people, who are our friends./.