France and Russia to push for united international efforts on Syria
Initiative will try to combine the two competing groups of countries searching for a resolution of the civil war
France and Russia want to create a coordination mechanism between world powers to push ahead with finding a political solution in Syria, French president Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.
Mr Macron said the idea was to coordinate efforts carried out by the Astana process that comprises Russia, Turkey and Iran and the ‘small group’, which was initiated by France, and comprises Britain, Germany, Jordan, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
“We need to be talking about the situation after the war. The key is to build a stable Syria,” president Macron said at a news conference alongside his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Mr Macron said the two agreed that focus should be on a new constitution and setting up inclusive elections that would include all Syrians, including refugees.
Previous international groups that have pitted opponents to president Bashar al-Assad with his backers have until now failed to find a solution to the seven-year civil war.
Mr Macron said the two had discussed France’s hopes to create an international mechanism for attributing responsibility for chemical weapons attacks, although Mr Putin made no mention of the initiative.
France, together with the United States and Britain, conducted a missile attack against the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons programme in mid-April in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week earlier.
Russian and Iranian military help over the past three years has allowed Assad to crush the rebel threat to topple him.
Updated: May 25, 2018 12:42 AM