France again changes position on Assad

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calls for transition in Syria that doesn't include Assad.

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Ben Ariel, Canada,

Jean-Yves Le Drian
Jean-Yves Le Drian
Reuters

France on Friday once again shifted its position on the civil war in Syria, calling for a political transition that would not include President Bashar Al-Assad, AFP reports.

"We cannot build peace with Assad," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on radio RTL.

"He cannot be the solution," added Le Drian, who served as France's defense minister in the past.

"The solution is to establish... a timeline for political transition that can lead to a new constitution and elections, and this transition cannot happen with Bashar Al-Assad," he continued.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in July that the removal of the Syrian president was not a "prerequisite" for peace in the war-torn country, and that he did not see a "legitimate successor" to Assad.

France has in the past insisted that Assad step down, but that stance appeared to change in late 2015, when then-Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Assad's departure is no longer necessary before any political transition in the war-torn country.

Macron also said in July that the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) group was a priority for France, which has endured a string of terror attacks that have killed more than 230 people since 2015. Some of these were planned in Syria.

Le Drian said Friday that ISIS "will be defeated in Syria," leaving the country with a "single conflict, that of the civil war" pitting an opposition against the Assad government.

Macron has tasked Le Drian with forming a new contact group on Syria to relaunch the stalled political process, according to AFP.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)