WASHINGTON, April 26. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron has stated the importance of negotiations with Russia on the settlement in Syria, as well as creating a bridge between the Geneva and Astana processes, he said in his speech at a news conference at George Washington University.
He spoke about the so-called small initiative group that had been created in France earlier to settle the situation in Syria. "Our willingness with this new small group is to create a bridge between the Geneva process and the Astana process to have a discussion encompassing all the allies of the region and to open line with Russia and Turkey. That’s the unique way to fix on the long run the situation of Syria," he noted.
The French president said that the specified group was established several weeks ago. It includes the US, France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which are working very closely. According to Macron, the group is coordinating with Turkey and Germany and intends to hold negotiations "with some permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations and some of our allies in the region."
"This new initiative is a very important complement to the two existing initiatives [the Astana and the Geneva process - TASS] we have to take into consideration," Macron explained.
The alternative to the existing processes
He noted that he is not satisfied with the Astana settlement process on Syria, which involves three large states - Iran, Russia and Turkey - because it may lead to the partition of Syria.
On the other side, there is "the Geneva process, which is very legitimate, but with a lack of momentum today," the French leader said. He stressed that the group has "a constant dialogue with the opposition forces in Syria, because it’s important to speak with the different parties and with the different groups." "And that’s why <...>it is important to have this discussion with Russia in order to fix the situation [in Syria,]" Macron noted, pointing to the close ties between Moscow and Damascus.
He said that the group is currently working to gather all these people under the UN in the coming weeks or months. Thus, Macron explained, a new impulse to this new Geneva process will be provided, which will gather the allies of France and Syria and the key countries of the region, "especially those welcoming millions of refugees."
"So that’s our philosophy and that’s our process. I think for me this is the only way to move forward," the French leader concluded. He added that he does not see the settlement process without the involvement of some key countries, including Russia.