French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has reaffirmed France’s commitment to a political settlement in Syria, and hinted that Paris does not oppose the participation of Bashar al-Assad in the presidential elections.
"If President Bashar al-Assad is a candidate, he will be a candidate. It is the Syrians who must decide their future", AFP quoted him as saying.
Commenting on the situation in the Mideast country in the aftermath of Washington’s decision to withdraw its troops from the Arab Republic, Le Drian stressed that the war against Daesh* was not over.
"There is a war against Daesh that is not finished, and those who consider Daesh to have been eradicated are mistaken. And then there is an internal civil war, and sometimes both wars are linked", he added.
The foreign minister’s remarks come after France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on 20 December that France would “for now” maintain its participation in the coalition fighting terrorists in Syria.
In mid-December, US President Donald Trump announced a decision to pull out all American troops from Syria, having declared victory over Daesh. At the same time, Washington did not disclose a timeline, but stated that the withdrawal did not mean the end of the US-led coalition’s fight against Daesh.
*Daesh, also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.