Talks under way with Russia on post-Assad Syria: France

Agence France-Presse
France's foreign minister said Friday, June 15, that talks were under way with Russia on Syria's future if President Bashar al-Assad is ousted, and that Paris may supply communication equipment to Syrian rebels

PARIS, France (AFP) – France’s foreign minister said Friday, June 15, that talks were under way with Russia on Syria’s future if President Bashar al-Assad is ousted, and that Paris may supply communication equipment to Syrian rebels.

“The Russians are not today attached to the person of Bashar al-Assad. They clearly see he is a tyrant and a murderer. But they are sensitive about who might take his place, if Assad is ousted. The discussion is about that,” Laurent Fabius said.

He told France Inter radio that aside from the diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, another outcome might be “a clear and distinct victory of the opposition”.

“That is why at the same time as the efforts of (UN-Arab League envoy) Kofi Annan, we are considering — the Americans have done it, and perhaps we will do it — giving not arms but extra communications equipment” to the rebels, he said.

The remark was the first time that a French official has publicly said that France was considering giving equipment to the rebels fighting the Syrian regime.

Fabius also said that major world powers could soon hold a conference on Syria in the Swiss city of Geneva.

“There is a possibility, I don’t know if we’ll get there, but there is a possibility of holding a conference in Geneva on June 30,” he said.

Participants would include countries on the UN Security Council but the meeting would be held “without the constraints of the Security Council,” he added.

Russia, along with China, has vetoed two Security Council resolutions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has vowed to oppose any military intervention. – Agence France-Presse