French President Francois Hollande says Iran and Russia must be part of a resolution of the crisis in Syria while maintaining his stance on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We must, with Russia, with Iran, with neighboring countries, with the Persian Gulf countries, find another solution than Bashar al-Assad,” Hollande said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.
“We have to do everything so that a political transition can be found in Syria,” he stated.
Hollande’s remarks came a day after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said talks should be held between regional countries, the European Union states, the United States and Russia “towards the foundation of a transitional government” in the Arab country.
The French president’s comments strongly conflict with those of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who say Assad is definitely part of the solution to the turmoil in Syria.
During his address to the UN General Assembly on Monday, Putin noted that no one but Assad’s armed forces are truly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorists and other militant groups operating inside the country.
“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face,” he noted.
On September 22, Fabius said a diplomatic resolution to Syria’s crisis is impossible without Assad. “If we require, even before negotiations start, that Assad step down, we won’t get far,” he was quoted as saying in the French daily Le Figaro.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has reportedly claimed some 250,000 lives up until now.