Syria: France wants to see Bashar al-Assad in war crimes court

FILE: Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, meets with Saudi Arabia ambassador to Jordan Nayef al-Sadiri, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
FILE: Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, meets with Saudi Arabia ambassador to Jordan Nayef al-Sadiri, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AFP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna says there's no change in French policy, despite al-Assad being warmly welcomed back into the fold by fellow Arab leaders.

ADVERTISEMENT

The French foreign minister said on Tuesday she wants to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tried at a war crimes court, recalling "the hundreds of thousands of deaths" and "the use of chemical weapons" blamed on his regime during the civil war that began in the country in 2011. 

In a television interview, Catherine Colonna said Tuesday: "The fight against crimes, against impunity is part of the values of French diplomacy."

"Every time I have to speak on the Syrian issue, our priorities include the fight against impunity," she insisted.

When asked by a journalist whether she wanted him to be tried, she said "the answer is yes." 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made his return to the regional scene by attending the Arab League summit last week, after being excluded for more than a decade. He was warmly welcomed by Arab leaders, in particular the Saudis. 

However, Colonna says France doesn't intend to change its policy towards al-Assad.

"We have to remember who Bashar al-Assad is. He is a leader who has been the enemy of his people for more than ten years," the foreign minister said. 

The French minister stressed that the lifting of European sanctions against Syria was "certainly not" on the agenda, nor was a change in France's position with regards to the Syrian president. 

"As long as he does not change, as long as he does not make commitments to reconciliation, the fight against terrorism, the fight against drugs, (...) as long as he does not respect his commitments, there is no reason to change the attitude towards him," she said.

"I think it is up to him to change, it is not up to France to change its attitude."

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Arab League reinstates Syrian membership after a 12-year suspension

Islamic State leader who claimed France terror attacks reportedly killed in Syria

Putin welcomes Assad to Moscow for talks to reaffirm mutual support