Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign and European Spokesperson (Paris, October 18, 2011)
Syria – An Opponent to the Syrian Regime’s Situation in France
Since the protests began in Syria, France has taken great care to ensure that no Syrian citizen threatened by a return to his country is deported to Syria. This will, of course, be the case for the person you mentioned, who will not be deported.
As the person has applied for asylum, a procedure is pending before the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA).
France fully complies with its international commitments, including the Geneva Convention of 1952 and the European Convention on Human Rights.
I remind you that France is the leading European country – and third worldwide – receiving asylum seekers. Through this commitment to solidarity, our country demonstrates respect for our values and traditions of hospitality. Asylum is a great Republican tradition and every person who so requests on our territory is listened to, welcomed with dignity, and provided care under the best conditions.
Syria – Transition
Q - Yesterday, in your statement regarding Syria, you made an appeal to the Arab League for courageous decisions. What kind of decisions are you talking about here?
A - It is not for us to say what others should do. Such courageous decisions must be fueled by the intolerable nature and unbearable repression of the Syrian regime against its people, against the demonstrators. Arab countries must take responsibility in the face of the tragedy we have been witnessing in an Arab country for months. We have taken our responsibilities. We went to the United Nations Security Council. We tried to obtain a resolution in the Security Council. We are working continuously with our European partners in Brussels as part of the sanction process against those who are guilty of this repression and against economic entities participating in financing this system. We are exercising our responsibility. By meeting, the Arab League’s member countries have taken a step in the right direction.
Q - Will you continue to call for a political transition?
A – Yes. First of all, we are calling for an end to violence. That is urgent, requiring immediacy. We do not want any more protesters to be killed. Regarding political transition, it is up to the Syrian people to decide what to do. Our responsibility is to denounce what is happening and try to stop the violence. We have not shirked our responsibility. For months, we have spoken out; we have mobilized in Brussels and New York; and we will continue doing so. Regarding the transition, we have long said – since the beginning – as Mr. Bashar Al-Assad has made his speeches, that we expected him to put his announced reforms into practice. Unfortunately, we have observed that nothing was happening. This raises the issue of credibility. We have continued to observe the following: every announced reform not only is not followed-up with practical implementation, but is also accompanied by continued repression. Speeches follow one after another, yet repression is growing.