Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Taking its cues from the U.S., France back tracks on its demand that Assad steps down

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015   No comments

ISR: after insisting for four years that Assad must step down before "friend-of-Syria"  stop  their support of the opposition, which France recognized as the "sole representative of the Syrian people, its Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, now, says Assad can be part of the solution.

France will not demand Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's departure as a precondition for peace talks, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Figaro in an interview.

"If we require, even before negotiations start, that Assad step down, we won't get far," Fabius was quoted as saying in a preview of the French daily's Tuesday edition.

The comments represent a softening of France's position towards Assad, whose four-year war against rebel groups and Islamic State fighters has claimed more than 200,000 lives.

The United States and Britain have already made similar shifts to their stances on Syria, as Russia bolsters its support for Assad with a military buildup in the country. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday that the timing of Assad's exit following a peace deal would be negotiable.

France believes a diplomatic resolution would require the establishment of a government of national unity including elements of Assad's administration "to avoid the kind of collapse seen in Iraq", Fabius also said in the interview.



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