MESOP NEWS : Macron — Assad is “Enemy of Syrian People”…But We Have to Speak With Him

By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – December 18, 2017 – France’s President Emmanuel Macron has labelled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad an “enemy of the Syrian people” while explaining, “We have to speak to Assad and his representatives.”France has taken an increasingly prominent role in Middle Eastern affairs since Macron’s election in May, with the new President travelling to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel for discussions.

Macron called on Sunday for direct negotiations between the Assad regime and the opposition, three days after the regime delegation walked out of the UN-supported Geneva talks.The delegation, headed by UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, refused any direct discussions with the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee and criticized UN envoy Staffan de Mistura for his handling of the process.Macron said the opportunity for genuine talks would be provided with the final defeat of the Islamic State: “We have just won the war in Iraq with the coalition. And I think that by the middle to the end of February, we will have won the war in Syria.”

He acknowledged, “Bashar al-Assad will be there. He will be there because he is protected by those who have won the war on the ground, whether it’s Iran or Russia.”However, Macron continued, “[He] will have to respond to his crimes before his people, before the international courts”.