France’s Macron Sees No ‘Legitimate Successor’ to Assad
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – There is currently no viable alternative to Bashar al-Assad to prevent Syria from turning into a failed state, French President Emanuel Macron said, departing from his predecessor’s position that the Syrian leader must be toppled to stabilize the war-torn country.
“The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad’s departure is a pre-condition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor,” Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with eight European newspapers, according to RT.
Macron said he will not allow US “neo-conservatism” to seep into France, and that the focus of French policy will be aimed at achieving “stability” in Syria, rather than getting dragged into a Libya-style conflict.
“What was the outcome of these interventions? Failed states in which terrorist groups flourished. I do not want that in Syria,” the French leader emphasized.
While adopting a more flexible approach to the Syrian conflict, Macron warned of red lines beyond which Paris would be ready to seek direct military intervention against Damascus.
“If it is proven that chemical weapons are used on the ground and we can trace their provenance,” Macron said France will conduct unilateral strikes “to destroy the stocks of identified chemical weapons.”
However, the 39-year-old French leader noted that he shares “convergent views” with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is “obsessed” with “fighting terrorism and avoiding a failed state” in Syria.
“I respect Vladimir Putin. I had a constructive exchange with him. We have real disagreements, on Ukraine in particular, but he has seen my position,” Macron said. He welcomed constructive dialogue with Moscow and said he is optimistic about cooperation between the two countries.
The French president made clear that France’s domestic security is directly linked to the ongoing war in Syria, as recent terrorist attacks in France, which killed over 230 people, were fueled by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) ideology which flourished amid the ongoing armed conflict.
“My deep conviction is that there needs to be a diplomatic and political roadmap. We won’t solve the question only with military force. That is a collective error we have made,” he said, reiterating Moscow’s long-standing policy towards Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011.