Vedrine speaks on issues prior to Assad 's visit
Syria-France, Politics, 7/13/1998
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said in a statement to the Syrian media mission now in Paris to cover news on President al-Assad's visit to France on July 16 though 18 that the visit is very important and extremely significant.
He said that France wishes to improve the situation in the Middle East and find a solution with all parties concerned. The situation is still grave and complicated, he said. Issues must be solved, the French Foreign Minister added.
On how France will find practical means to counter the dangerous situation and Israel's anti-peace drive, Vedrine said: "Regardless of the consequences of the Israeli policies, France deplores Israel's non-commitment to the implementation of reached agreements. We have to talk effectively with all parties concerned as the US and Europe are doing. There must be a constructive coordination in all international endeavors, especially those of the US, Russia and other world powers. And as the situation is grave, there would be no possibility of wasting time in playing the game of futile competition between one diplomacy and another. All must collectively work to end the process impasse. France is playing a useful role in developing the European stand, and in holding a dialogue with the US on how to coordinate joint efforts and reach the objective."
Replying a question on Paris stands towards reviving talks on the Syrian - Lebanese tracks after Benjamin Netanyahu's government disavowed what was achieved, the French FM said France is keen to implement resolutions 425 and 426. "Recognizing resolution 425 by the Israeli government is a positive step, but it was linked to certain conditions not provided for originally in the text."
Concerning the European role in the Middle East peace process, Vedrine said that Europe is working on developing its role. Within the EU, France is constantly actively seeking to persuade its European partners to play a large role.
Commenting on the Israeli settlement and expansionist policy irrespective of international legitimacy resolutions, the French FM explained that France opposes such a policy which contradicts UN Security Council resolutions, Israel's commitment to the peace process, and the spirit of confidence and dialogue. "I stress that resolution 425 is clear and should be implemented without conditions."
Replying to a question on the Turkish-Israeli military alliance and its impact to security in the Mediterranean region, the French minister said: France welcomes the right of the whole world to enjoy peace, establish security, maintain trust, alleviate tensions and sustain rules for coexistence process. France categorically opposes keeping the Middle East region judged by injustice and loss of peace, he said.
He concluded as saying, "We are completely sure that this visit by President al-Assad to France will have important reflections on the bilateral relations, understanding of stands and the region's levels. It will also constitute an important stage for the Middle East."
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