Syria: Foreign Ministers gather in Paris
On April 19, French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Alain Juppé hosted an international ministerial meeting dedicated to the situation in Syria and the implementation of the peace plan put forth by United Nations Special Envoy, Kofi Annan. The attendees included U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and ministers of foreign affairs from 14 countries including Tunisia and Qatar.
“After a 13-month-long, indiscriminate, bloody crackdown that has claimed more than 11,000 lives and is destabilizing the entire region, the Security Council finally agreed, last Saturday, on a resolution supporting Kofi Annan’s mission and calling for the deployment of blue helmets in Syria,” said Mr. Juppé in a press conference. “It must be implemented completely; any backtracking would be disastrous.”
“We can’t wait - time is running out,” the French minister warned. “The observers must be deployed quickly and must be able to operate without any hindrance. If that’s not the case, we should examine what other options are open to the Security Council and the international community.”
“This is a crucial moment in the Syria crisis, one that requires determined commitment from the friends of the Syrian people,” he added. This meeting “should send a very strong message to Syria, the Syrian people and the United Nations,” said Mr. Juppé, who then detailed several ways to “ensure Bashar al-Assad fulfills his international obligations.”
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting devoted to Syria, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ Crisis Center brought together French NGOs on April 19 for a meeting chaired by Eric Chevallier, Ambassador of France to Syria, to discuss the humanitarian situation in that country.