Syria’s foreign ministry slammed Paris for “hysteria” after French foreign minister Colonna called for President al-Assad to stand trial over issues related to the civil war.
“Recently, we have followed the hysteria, isolation and distancing of French foreign policy, which has lost its rationality after the historic decisions of the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on the Syria issue,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. on May 24.
The comments came after French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on May 23 that Syrian President al-Assad should be tried after “hundreds of deaths” and “the use of chemical weapons” in the civil war. “The fight against crime, against impunity, is part of French foreign policy,” she said.
“France’s backward diplomacy must reconsider its position,” Syria’s foreign ministry added, accusing France of trying to “restore the legacy of the colonial era”.
Relations between Syria and countries in the region are heating up after more than a decade of tension. Assad arrived in Saudi Arabia on May 18 to attend the Arab League summit, 12 years after the organization suspended Syria’s membership.
However, Colonna said Paris would not change its policy towards the Syrian leadership. She further emphasized that the European Union (EU) certainly has no plans to lift sanctions against the Syrian regime.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attends the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19. Photo: Reuters
Several governments and international organizations accuse the Assad regime of using chemical weapons against civilians. In January, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said the Syrian air force dropped canisters of toxic gas in 2018 in Douma, then one of the last opposition strongholds near the capital, killing 43 people. Damascus has repeatedly denied chemical weapons allegations.
Twelve years ago, the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in protest of its response to the country’s protests. The protests escalated into a civil war that continues to this day, leaving more than 500,000 dead and millions displaced. Earlier this month, the Arab League readmitted Syria, ending its policy of isolating President Assad.
Countries in the region once wanted to topple President Assad, but gradually changed their minds as he remained in power and regained lost territory with important support from Russia and Iran. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) re-established relations with Syria in 2018 and has recently led efforts to reintegrate Damascus into the region.
However, not all countries in the region are quick to mend relations with the Assad regime. Qatar says it will not normalize relations with Syria until there is a solution to the crisis.
The United States is also vehemently opposed to the readmission of the Arab League into Syria. “We do not believe Syria deserves to be readmitted to the Arab League at this time. We will not normalize relations with the Assad regime nor support our allies and partners to do the same. So,” the US State Department said on May 8 . .
Huyen Le (according to AFP)