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Syria/Geneva II conference/Iran – Hezbollah/EU terrorist list – Syria/transfer of powers/Russia – Lebanon/Hezbollah

Published on May 24, 2013
Press briefing given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, after the ministerial meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People (excerpts)

Amman, May 22, 2013

SYRIA/GENEVA II CONFERENCE/IRAN

THE MINISTER – I’ve just participated in the meeting of the Syrian National Coalition and countries supporting it.

Among other things, there are three main points I want to highlight.

The first is that France fully and wholeheartedly supports the Syrian National Coalition. The coalition is meeting tomorrow; it will take decisions, but I want to remind you that France is at the Syrian National Coalition’s side.

The second is that we’re working towards a meeting being held soon in Geneva. We’re in favour of this meeting because we’d like a political solution in place. Obviously, this meeting is tough, it has to fulfil a number of conditions – on participation and the agenda in particular.

This is what we talked about and we agree with the proposals being made.

Among those points officially endorsed is the fact that Iran, in view of her behaviour and the extremely hostile position she is adopting vis-à-vis the Syrian people, has no place in such a conference.

HEZBOLLAH/EU TERRORIST LIST

The third point is that I can confirm, in view of the decisions taken by Hezbollah, that France will propose including the organization’s military arm on the European Union’s list of terrorist entities. (...)

SYRIA/TRANSFER OF POWERS/RUSSIA

Q. – So far, the opposition has clearly refused any solution which doesn’t include Bashar al-Assad’s departure. How did you do it? What did you say to them to persuade them to participate in this conference?

THE MINISTER – I think we have to refer to a point on which there’s general agreement, in the communiqué from the first Geneva meeting. At that first meeting, which took place last year, we agreed on the text of a communiqué. It spells out the establishment of a transitional governing body with full powers, and that this must be formed by mutual consent. The purpose of the Geneva II conference is, precisely, to implement this. That’s the answer to your question. As soon as the coalition government – in accordance with what we all signed – has full powers, including of course military powers and security powers, the current president, Mr Bashar al-Assad, no longer has those powers. The Geneva II conference is being convened to implement this, which means that Mr Bashar al-Assad has no place in the political solution which will be provided.

Q. – Do the Russians agree on that point, the transfer of powers?

THE MINISTER – The Geneva conference, as proposed by both the American Secretary of State and the Russian Minister, has as its very basis the implementation of Geneva I. Geneva I, precisely, talks about a transitional governing body with full powers, meaning therefore that, de facto – and also legally – Mr Bashar al-Assad no longer has those powers.

LEBANON/HEZBOLLAH

Q. – Have you told Lebanon about your desire to include Hezbollah on the list?

THE MINISTER – It’s a point Lebanon is familiar with. Let me be clear: France’s position is to include Hezbollah’s military arm; as you’ve seen, not only has Hezbollah become fully involved in Syria, it has proclaimed its involvement. As there are also other points, regarding what’s happened in Bulgaria and Cyprus, we believe this is a point on which all the Europeans should be in agreement./.

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