‘Assad Can Stay’: Western Powers Recognize Russia Was Right All Along in Syria

Saturday, July 15, 2017
By Paul Martin


Speaking to reporters after talks with President Trump this week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Paris’s Syria stance no longer includes the removal of President Bashar Assad from power as a priority. Russian observers say the about-face is significant, serving as the first inkling of a new paradigm in French Middle East policy.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference in Paris after his meeting with the US president on Thursday, President Macron confirmed that France no longer insists on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ouster, and sees the fight against terrorism a more important priority.

“We have changed the French doctrine with regard to Syria; our fundamental task now is to eradicate terrorist groups, no matter [where] they are,” the president said.

After their talks, Trump and Macron proposed the creation of a contact group to develop a roadmap for a settlement in Syria. The French president specified that this group should include permanent members of the UN Security Council, stakeholders in the region and representatives of the Assad government.

In turn, President Trump said that Washington was working on a second truce in Syria with Moscow, emphasizing that the first ceasefire was made possible only thanks to earlier Russian-US contacts.

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