Assad's departure no longer necessary for France to settle Syrian conflict

French President Emmanuel Macron on June 21 revealed that he no longer sees the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a pre-condition to resolving the six-year-old conflict. In a wide-ranging interview with several European newspapers, he said that priorities in Syria must be a fight against all the terrorist groups, and ensuring the stability so that it will not become a failed state.

According to Macron, the Assad's removal could lead to further instability as there is no legitimate successor yet. But Assad's use of chemical weapons could again change this U-turn in the French viewpoint on Syria. France has been a staunch backer of the Syrian opposition and has demanded that the conflict will be resolved through negotiations brokered by the UN, which request Assad’s departure. Nevertheless, Macron is now also willing to negotiate with Russia, which he considers a long-term partner rather than a direct threat to Europe. Moreover, his foreign policy is heading towards less interventionist approach as he called the Western intervention in Libya a mistake, which he does not want to repeat in Syria. Thus the direction of the French foreign policy shifts from neoconservatism towards realism and realpolitik.

About author: Tomáš Krajňák

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