French President Emmanuel Macron said his country no longer deems the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a precondition for resolving the conflict in the Arab country.
On Wednesday, the newly-elected president made the announcement which was in stark contrast to the stance of the previous French administration and closer to Russia’s pro-Assad position.
“The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad’s departure is a precondition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor,” said Macron in an interview published in several European newspapers.
“My lines are clear, firstly, a complete fight against all the terrorist groups [is required], they are our enemies,” he said, adding that his second priority was safeguarding Syria’s stability and sovereignty.
While noting that global cooperation is required to solve the crisis in Syria, Macron stressed that Russia’s cooperation is “especially needed” to eradicate Daesh.
“My deep conviction is that there needs to be a diplomatic and political roadmap. We will not resolve this solely militarily,” he added.
Syria has been gripped by unrest since 2011, when militancy first began in the country. Foreign states opposed to President Assad have since then been funding and providing weapons to anti-Assad militants, among them thousands of paid foreign terrorists dispatched to help force Assad out of power.
The Syrian government, however, has been fighting that militancy back, aided in that battle by advisory military support from Iran and Russia. Moscow has also been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorist positions in the Arab country on a request by Damascus.