I know there’s been a lot said about the statements made by the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, on Syria. I spoke to John Kerry on the phone this morning: he assured me that there was absolutely nothing new in America’s position on Syria. Duly acknowledged. At any rate, France is an independent country. Our foreign policy on the tragedy going on in Syria hasn’t changed. It is dictated by both the demand for peace and by international law and is based on what was called Geneva I. Everything is in the Geneva I communiqué.
The solution is a political transition, as we’ve always said: a political transition which must both safeguard the institutions of the regime – not Mr Bashar al-Assad – and of course include the opposition. This is what we’re working towards. It’s the only realistic solution. Any other solution which put Bashar al-Assad back in the saddle would be a huge, absolutely scandalous gift for Daesh [ISIL], for the Daesh terrorists, since if it were established that Mr Bashar al-Assad had been put back in the saddle, the millions – and I mean millions – of Syrians who have been persecuted by Mr Bashar al-Assad would switch their support to Daesh. We’ve obviously got to avoid that.
That’s what I’ve got to say. We’re working towards this with a whole series of countries: with the Arab countries, with the Russians, with the United Nations envoy; and this position adopted by France seems to us the only reasonable and realistic one. (…)./.