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Paris Pushes for Diplomatic Solution after Military Strikes on Syria

Paris Pushes for Diplomatic Solution after Military Strikes on Syria

Monday, 16 April, 2018 - 05:45
French President Emmanuel Macron. AFP file photo
Paris - Michel Abou Najm
Following last week’s military strikes on the Damascus regime, it is time to finally launch a diplomatic initiative for a political solution in Syria that would involve all parties, mainly Russia, sources in Paris told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

During a closed meeting with a number of reporters, officials at the Elysee Palace said the show of force displayed by the West after hitting chemical sites in Syria “will be useless unless it came within the framework of a strategic political plan.”

So, a French “diplomatic dynamism” is picking up a few days after the US, France and Britain fired more than 100 missiles at Syria following evidence that Bashar Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

Sources in Paris said France's decision to get involved in a military operation was aimed at “disciplining” the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons in Douma on April 7.

The first signs that France wanted to launch a diplomatic initiative on Syria appeared from the Elysee.

The French presidential palace issued a statement hours after Friday’s strikes, calling on the UN Security Council to adopt a new draft resolution aimed at achieving a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict that addresses political, chemical and humanitarian issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke by phone with his American and Turkish counterparts, respectively Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with an objective to convince the first to join the French initiative and the second to support the political process in Syria.

The practical steps taken by Paris would be highlighted in New York on Monday when the Security Council is expected to start discussing a new draft resolution presented by France, Britain and the US to address the political, chemical and humanitarian issues of the Syrian crisis.

Sources in Paris also confirmed that Macron plans to keep an open channel with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Several sources said Paris had pushed its allies to “limit” the military strikes on Syria by only targeting chemical facilities. Its move helped avert an escalation with Russia after the three Western states avoided strikes on positions controlled by Russian and Iranian forces.

Therefore, The French foreign policy objective is currently aimed at putting pressure on the two major powers, the US and Russia.

Paris wants Washington to remain “engaged” in Syria instead of withdrawing US forces from the country in the short-term.

France also seeks to show Moscow that military “victories” in Syria would be insufficient if Russia is incapable of interpreting them into political success.

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