20th Ambassadors’ Conference [fr]
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic - excerpt - Paris, 27 August 2012
The second challenge is the Syria crisis.
The principle is simple: Bashar al-Assad must go. There’s no political solution with him. He’s a threat, he’s continuing with unbelievable violence to massacre the people, destroy cities and kill women and children - we’ve had evidence of this again in the past few days. It’s intolerable for the human conscience, unacceptable for the region’s security and stability. The matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court in order for those responsible for these atrocities to one day stand trial.
I want to be clear: France shoulders all her responsibilities and spares no effort for the Syrian people to get their freedom and security.
To achieve this, we have to overcome obstacles at the Security Council; the Foreign Minister is working on this. We’ll return to this at some point because the Syria crisis is dangerous for everyone, beginning with Syria’s neighbours. We’ll go on as much as necessary doing a job of exerting pressure and persuading at the Security Council in order for the international community to reach a consensus. But in the immediate future, we must act.
Firstly, stepping up efforts so that the political transition takes place as soon as possible. With this in mind, France is asking the Syrian opposition to form a provisional, inclusive and representative government, able to become the legitimate representative of the new Syria. We’re urging our Arab partners to speed up this initiative and France will recognize the new Syria’s provisional government as soon as it has been formed.
Secondly, and without delay, we’re strongly supporting those working on the ground for a free, democratic Syria who guarantees the security of all her communities. We’re helping in particular those organizing the liberated areas in Syria. We’re working on Turkey’s initiative of proposed buffer zones. We’re doing so in consultation with our closest partners. Finally - and I say this with all due solemnity - we and our allies remain very vigilant in preventing the regime from using chemical weapons, which for the international community would provide a legitimate reason for direct intervention.
I know how difficult the task is, I’m aware of the risks, but what is at stake goes beyond Syria; it concerns the whole security of the Middle East, and in particular the independence and stability of Lebanon. (…)./.