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Published on April 5, 2013
Press conference given by M. François Hollande, President of the

Republic (excerpts)

Rabat, April 4, 2013


Q. – In your speech yesterday in Casablanca, you talked about terrorists, then about your fear of the radicalization of French jihadist terrorists. Is there a semantic shift between these expressions? Some are jihadists, others aren’t? Or is the situation on the ground compelling you to use these terms? Or is it the prelude to a step back from the principle of delivering weapons to the Syrian opposition?

THE PRESIDENT – Regarding Syria, we would like a political solution. We’ve been seeking one for months. 100,000 deaths in two years! We’re making every effort to get the Syrian government to understand that it has to step aside. We’re trying to persuade the Russians to encourage this political transition. At the same time, on the military side of things we’ve evidence that the regime is crushing civilians by using weapons. So we’ve said this is an intolerable situation of imbalance, that the embargo applies until May – this is a Europe-wide decision – and that there are conditions prior to it being lifted.

The first of these conditions is for the opposition to be united. We’ve worked to get this opposition recognized. In the past few weeks, there’s been a number of divisions, quarrels – or at any rate, debates. The second – imperative – condition we’re laying down is that in the event of the embargo being lifted, no weapons can be delivered to groups we might fear will go on to use them, including against our own interests. For the time being, we’re working on encouraging the opposition to get a structure and be recognized and, during this period, to ensure that pressure is exerted at political level so a way out can be found. (...)./.

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