France will host the third meeting of “Friends of Syria,” a gathering of countries that back the departure of the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 6 July in Paris.
“We consider in France that Bashar al-Assad is an assassin and the sooner he leaves power, the better," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius [AFP, 7 June].
About 50 nations, including the United States, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will take part.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said that neighboring Iran would not be invited to participate.
“The Iranian regime until now has without fail supported Bashar al-Assad and the bloody repression of his people,” Valero said. “In this context, it is not possible to have it associated with resolving the Syrian crisis.”
Many of the participating countries, like France and Qatar, favor placing the implementation of the UN’s six-point peace plan, known as Annan’s peace plan, under chapter 7 of UN Charter, allowing member countries to use all the necessary means, including military intervention, to end the conflict in Syria, as it was done in Libya. The veto-yielding Russia and China, however, would likely block the move, with the possibility of a coalition of countries outside UNSC framework to plan its own alternatives, including a military option.
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan today told e meeting of the UN Security Council that the Syrian government was the main culprit for the failure of his peace initiative in the country. He told the UNSC that there must be "consequences" for those obstructing efforts to end the conflict.