France says Syria's Assad must give up power to end war

[23-05-2013 02:28 PM]

Ammon News - AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must turn over power to a transitional government in order for a U.S.- and Russian-backed peace conference to have any chance of success, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday.

"It is perfectly clear that the main aim of this possible conference is to bring in a transitional government for Syria which will have the full executive power," Fabius said before a meeting of the Friends of Syria alliance in Jordan's capital.

"The position of France is ... there has to be a transitional body which will have all the executive power. It means that in fact the powers which are today held by the president will be held by the transitional body. It is clear."

Fabius, whose country had led a Western drive for a detente with the Iranian-backed Assad before the revolt that began two years ago, said differences about participants and the agenda had to be resolved before the conference could take place in Geneva at a date as yet unspecified.

"France is in favor of a new conference in Geneva provided that the conditions of its success are met. Obviously it will be a great disappointment if a new conference was a failure and therefore there are some conditions to fulfill," he said.

France opposes Iran's attendance at the conference, and Fabius said participation "must be representative and must not include countries which are against the success".

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