Refusal of UK parliament to sanction a military strike against Syria will have no effect on France’s stance on the issue. Paris does not rule out that the operation may be launched September 4, after parliamentary hearings on the Syrian crisis, France’s President François Hollande stated, as reported French newspaper Le Monde.
French national leader has emphasized that his country is prepared to act in Syria without support from British allies. “Each country is a sovereign state and makes own decisions whether to take part in an operation or not. This applies equally to Great Britain and France,” Hollande said.
The president stated that the intervention could begin even before UN experts left Syria; however, he didn’t rule out that a decision to launch a military operation could be made by French top officials prior to parliamentary hearings, scheduled for September 4.
“I rule out making a decision before receiving all information which would support it,” he emphasized. “I have summed the parliament on Wednesday for an emergency session in order to discuss the Syrian situation. If I send France [to Syria], the government will inform [the parliament] on means and objectives according to article 35 of the Constitution.”
Regarding events of August 21, when an alleged chemical attack happened in Damascus suburbs, Hollande stated that for France, possibility of using nerve gas “is an established fact which is not even refuted by Syrian authorities. The issue now is to establish guilty parties in this travesty. France possesses numerous pieces of evidence, which point to the Syrian regime being responsible for it,” he added.
Reminding that the 1925 Geneva protocol, prohibiting use of chemical weapons provides a legal basis for intervention, Hollande declared that Paris was looking into all options regarding retaliatory measures. “France wants a proportionate and firm response to the Syrian regime in Damascus,” the president said, emphasizing that he believed it inappropriate to use the word “war.” “We’re talking about punishment for heinous violation of human rights,” he clarified.
The president added that no resolution of the UN Security Council on the Syrian situation will not prevent creation of a wide international frontline consisting of countries, willing to take part in the potential military operation. “If the Security Council will be prevented from action, a coalition will form,” the president said. “It will be supported by the Arab League, which has already condemned this crime and made it public. It will also receive support of the European Union.”
François Hollande noted that currently “there are very few countries which are able to execute punishment with corresponding methods.” “France is among these countries, and it’s ready to act. We will make a decision after thorough coordination with allies,” he said, adding that later on he would talk with Barack Obama on this subject.
France’s president once again reminded that he believed “the Damascus chemical attack cannot and should not go unpunished” and that Paris “possesses evidence,” pointing to governmental forces being behind the attack.
“Otherwise there is a distinct risk of allowing escalation which would render using chemical weapons commonplace. I do not think there should be an international intervention which would ‘free’ Syria or depose the dictator, but I believe that it’s necessary to crack down on the regime which commits irredeemable acts against its population,” the president said.
Answering a question regarding potential aftermath of the Syrian invasion with regards to Moscow, Hollande claimed that “Russia refuses to admit that the regime could be guilty of the travesty as it fears Bashar Al-Assad’s ousting will cause chaos.” “I want to assure Russia that the worst outcome is the current situation which reinforces mujahedeen militants, “ he said.
“I’ve always told president Putin that I will not call into question special relations which the country have been maintaining with Syria for a long time. It’s in Russia’s interests to reach a political decision as soon as possible.”