Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should face justice for “hundreds of deaths” and “use of chemical weapons” during the country’s civil war, France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
During a televised interview, Catherine Colonna remarked, “the answer is yes,” adding that “the battle against crime, against impunity is part of French diplomacy.”
Assad returned to the regional scene this week with an attendance at an Arab League conference, an international organization from which he had been barred for a decade.
Nonetheless, Colonna stated that Paris’ position toward Syria’s ruler will not change.
“We have to remember who Bashar Assad is. He’s a leader who has been the enemy of his own people for more than 10 years,” she said.
A lifting of European Union sanctions on the Syrian regime was “certainly not” planned, she added.
“So long as he doesn’t change, so long as he doesn’t commit to reconciliation, to the fight against terrorism, the fight against drugs… so long as he doesn’t fulfil his commitments, there’s no reason to change our attitude toward him,” Colonna said.
“I think it’s up to him to change, it’s not up to France to change our attitude,” she added.