04:15 GMT +318 December 2017
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    A state flag of the Syrian Arab Republic by an Orthodox church in an old Christian block of Aleppo, Syria

    Macron’s Plan on Syria: Key Conditions for Success

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    As France apparently wants a greater role in the Syrian settlement, experts reached by Sputnik expressed skepticism over the new proposal by Paris on the issue. At the same time, Paris could contribute to the diplomatic efforts under certain circumstances.

    Syria was one of the main topics in French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech before the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday. In particular, the French leader indicated that Paris could propose a new initiative to settle the conflict, in addition to the already existing Astana talks. 

    "[The Astana process] may today be useful but it is not adequate," Macron said. 

    Earlier, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters that France wants to establish a new contact group on Syria

    Speaking with Sputnik France, Pierre Merjaneh, an independent lawmaker from Syrian Aleppo, expressed doubt that the initiative can be productive. According to him, the main reason is the fact that the United States is not interested in this proposal. 

    "France wants to return to Syria and restore its reputation. But whom will the French government contact to? This initiative can be viable only if Paris closely cooperates with the Syrian government," Merjaneh pointed out. 

    Thomas Flichy de La Neuville, a specialist in Middle East studies and member of the Cercle Mounier expert club, underscored that France wants to spearhead the diplomatic efforts in Syria, which, however, seems to be a difficult task since French influence in the region has been decreasing over the past two decades. 

    "France maintains contacts only with the West, but it lacks contact with Iran, one of the main parties involved," the expert said. 

    Commenting on the new French initiative, Jacques Hogard, president of the EPEE consulting and strategic intelligence agency, suggested that first of all Macron wants to distant himself and his government from the foreign policy of his predecessor, Francois Hollande. 

    "This is good, I would say, but only if France continues to adhere to a pragmatic approach and primarily relies on the Astana talks as the backbone of the Syrian settlement," Hogard said. 

    Meanwhile, in a recent interview with CNN, Macron indicated that France is ready to work with other countries, including Russia, to settle the Syrian crisis. 

    "Russia is a partner. We have to work with Russia. It's impossible to fix the Syrian situation without Russia. … I think on Syria, we can act together. That's important," the French president stressed. 

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    Tags:
    Astana talks, Syrian settlement, military conflict, diplomacy, Emmanuel Macron, Syria, France
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