Syria – Meeting of the French, American and Russian foreign ministers
This meeting provided a necessary interim review for the three main proponents of the idea of a conference in Geneva. It took place at a critical time, just as key decisions were being taken in Brussels and the meeting in Istanbul was under way.
There are a certain number of points on which the three parties agree with respect to the final objective. We now have to agree on how to achieve it. There are also problems that we shouldn’t underestimate. The major difference between Geneva I and Geneva II will be having parties around the table: we have to ensure that we have the right participation, the right composition, the right agenda. Resolving our differences among the three parties doesn’t mean that Geneva will take place. There are other considerations, other countries to consider – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, just to mention a few.
The composition of the delegations is a key issue, and there’s some confusion that needs to be cleared up. Everyone is talking about Geneva I and the critical part of the Geneva text (the interim government that would be appointed should be “mutually agreed upon,” and have full executive powers). “Mutually agreed upon” refers to the interim government and not to the delegations that want to participate in Geneva. Because if we start using an approach whereby one party can veto another, then we won’t have a Geneva II conference.
Another question relates to the format of the meeting: are we replicating Geneva I, or are we moving toward something else? The potential participation of Iran or Saudi Arabia is being mentioned. These two countries weren’t at Geneva I. Some people imagine that they will participate in the next conference. This isn’t France’s position with respect to Iran.