Salem Al-Meslet, President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), has received a letter from French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, addressing the ongoing political dynamics within the Syrian context and clarifying France’s stance.
Colonna voiced her nation’s apprehension regarding regional endeavors to normalize relations with the Assad regime. She highlighted the regime’s exploitation of the aftermath of the devastating February earthquake to further a regional normalization agenda, culminating in its reentry into the Arab League.
Underlining France’s steadfast position since 2011, Colonna emphasized that there’s no justification for normalizing ties with the Assad regime. This stance persists due to the regime’s failure to offer any assurances of its sincere engagement in a political process aligned with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The French Foreign Minister emphasized that adherence to UN resolutions regarding Syria is pivotal to granting the Syrian populace tranquility and security within their nation. This adherence also facilitates the voluntary return of refugees in a manner that upholds their safety and dignity.
Colonna elucidated that France’s Syria policy concentrates on deterring impunity, deeming it an imperative requisite for enduring peace and a viable political solution. She noted that over the past 12 years, the Syrian people have endured widespread human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law. Many of these transgressions, including the deployment of chemical weapons, amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Assad regime shoulders the blame for these acts.
Reiterating her country’s commitment to thwarting evaders of justice, Colonna pledged ongoing support to NGOs, international mechanisms, and national courts dedicated to holding those accountable for grave crimes in Syria.
Addressing the Assad regime’s continued reliance on the drug trade, Colonna expressed France’s deep concern about the smuggling of Captagon by the regime. This illicit activity has evolved into a significant financial stream for the regime and contributes to regional instability. Colonna highlighted that the European Union’s Council of Foreign Affairs has enacted fresh sanctions against entities and individuals responsible for Captagon smuggling in Syria and the region.
Discussing the outcomes of the Seventh Brussels Conference held in June, Colonna reiterated France’s backing for all Syrians, both within France and within their homeland. She announced a €540 million increase in aid, including €190 million in donations for 2023.
During the Brussels conference, France restated its call for unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Syria, particularly through the renewal of the mechanism for the cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)