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Palmyra restoration possible only after peace in Syria - French Foreign Ministry official

April 04, 2016, 1:14 updated at: April 04, 2016, 2:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"Not only a temporary truce, which we hail, but real peace," Anne-Marie Desctes, Director-General for Globalization, Development and Partnerships at the French Foreign Ministry said

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© Valery Sharifulin//TASS

MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. A full-fledged start of restoration of monuments destroyed in Syria’s Palmyra will only be possible after a comprehensive truce is established in the country, a senior official at the French Foreign Ministry told TASS in an interview.

"In order to reliably protect that wonderful heritage [Palmyra] from barbaric actions, which were destroying it for so long, and completely restore it, being guided by broad international support, peace is required. Not only a temporary truce, which we hail, but real peace," Anne-Marie Desctes, Director-General for Globalization, Development and Partnerships at the French Foreign Ministry, said.

She said official Damascus should accept the necessity of real political transition in line with Resolution 2254 of the United Nations Security Council.

Descotes said that "for Frenchmen, Palmyra is of special significance."

"France’s activity in Syria has long-established roots, France has traditionally taken part in archeological works," she said.

Palmyra, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, was recaptured by the Syrian Armed Forces March 27. The city had been controlled by militants of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group since May 2015. For less than a year of their Palmyra control, IS vandals destroyed the famous Arch of Triumph with the colonnade and other ancient monuments.

Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate chief Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said March 31 that the operation to liberate Palmyra was planned with participation of Russian military advisers.

Rudskoy said Russia’s Aerospace Forces made over 2,000 strikes to support the Syrian troops. Besides, Russian special operations forces were involved in the effort to recapture the ancient city.

On March 31 morning, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that the first group of International Anti-mine Center specialists arrived in Syria.

Later in the day, the ministry said the second group of specialists from the interservice team of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Anti-mine Center has left the Moscow Region for the Khmeimim airbase in Syria to take part in the humanitarian effort to clear infrastructure facilities and the historical part of the ancient city of Palmyra of mines.

The ceasefire regime took effect in Syria on February 27. Shortly before, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was backed by all 15 Security Council member states.

The ceasefire regime does not cover the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations as well as other groups ruled terrorist by the Security Council.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

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