Le Drian: KSA, France have unified position on Syria


Published — Tuesday 8 October 2013

Last update 8 November 2013 4:15 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated Monday that Riyadh and Paris share a common stance on Syria.
Speaking to a select group of journalists at the Royal Terminal in Jeddah on Monday, he said: “The shared French-Saudi approach is to strengthen and empower the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and Gen. Salim Idris of the Free Syrian Army.”
Le Drian conveyed a message from President Francois Hollande to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah during his meeting with him.
France has emerged as a strong ally of Gulf countries in an altered geopolitical scenario. The exceptionally warm reception that Le Drian received in Jeddah was indicative of the special relationship between the two countries.
“I am overwhelmed by the warm response from the Saudi leadership,” he said. “This goes to prove the depth of our strategic relationship.”
The minister said France was providing political, military and humanitarian support to the SNC and Gen. Salim Idris. “Our support and approach was commended by the Saudi leadership and the Saudi people,” said Le Drian.
The minister said: “There is no military solution to the Syrian crisis, and everyone recognizes this fact, so parties will have to come to the negotiating table.”
He said that the chances of Geneva II succeeding seem bright. “We want to see the constitution of a transitional government during the Geneva II conference,” said Le Drian.
He said the unwavering French support to the Syrian National Coalition, including military hardware, is aimed at strengthening the SNC’s position at the bargaining table in Geneva. “The stronger it is, the better it will be during negotiations for a transitional government.”
He said efforts were being made to isolate extremist elements and armed militant groups in Syria. “The presence of armed extremists have complicated the situation and have actually benefited (Bashar) Assad,” he said.
Le Drian was blunt on the issue of Iran. “We have seen and heard the speech of (Iranian President) Hassan Rowhani. While all those words are nice to hear, everything will depend on what actions the Iranian leadership will take to de-escalate tension in the region,” he said. “Words, however conciliatory, mean nothing unless and until they are converted into actual deeds.”
The minister held wide-ranging talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan during his daylong visit.
He said the Middle East peace process came under discussion during his talks with Crown Prince Salman. “We have to see to it that the peace process materializes,” he said.
Earlier, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al-Hazzab, commander of the west zone, received Le Drian at King Abdul Aziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal.
French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot was also present at the press conference.
Le Drian has been a frequent visitor to the region and has visited several countries in the Gulf.
France has a military base in the UAE, with about 500 personnel supporting naval, ground and air assets.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom has shared very friendly relations with the United States since the beginning of bilateral ties in the 1930s when full diplomatic relations were established. Despite all the ups and downs in recent years on certain policies, especially on...
AL-NAIRIYA: Women in Al-Nairiya governorate have called on the government to only allow gender-based voting because they believe this would allow women to get places on the new municipal councils.Nouf Al-Otaibi, a businesswoman in the area, said men...
Eighty-six-year-old American twins who met King Abdul Aziz in 1947 and King Abdullah in 2008 are now set to meet Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in Washington on Saturday during his official visit.North County twins Jackie Voskamp and J...
RIYADH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been allocated a package of services to ensure their development and employment, Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani said Tuesday.The minister was speaking at the first panel discussion at the second National Business...
JEDDAH: Security authorities in Turaif in the Northern Border Province have arrested a young man in his 20s for killing his parents and wounding his siblings at their house on Wednesday.The arrested man reportedly used a sharp object to kill his pare...
The Date and Palm Festival, organized by the Royal Commission for Jubail (RCJ) at the Al-Fanateer waterfront in Jubail Industrial City, has received more than 90,000 visitors since its launch last Thursday.In addition, on Sunday the event received mo...

Stay Connected