Syria’s Assad should be put on trial, says French foreign minister

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stand trial after “hundreds of thousands of people died” and “use chemical weapons” during the country’s civil war, the French foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Asked in a television interview if she wanted Assad to stand trial, Catherine Colonna said “the answer is yes”, adding that “fighting crime, fighting impunity is part of French diplomacy.”

Assad returned to the regional stage last week, attending the summit of the Arab League, an international organization he has been banned from for a decade.

Still, Colonna said Paris would not change its policy towards the Syrian ruler.

“We have to remember who Bashar al-Assad is. He is a leader who has been an enemy of his own people for more than 10 years,” she said.

Lifting EU sanctions on the Syrian regime was “certainly not” the plan, she added.

“As long as he doesn’t change, as long as he doesn’t commit to reconciliation, to fighting terrorism, to fighting drugs … as long as he doesn’t deliver on his promises, there’s no reason to change our attitude toward him,” Colonna said.

“I think the change depends on him, not on France changing our attitude,” she added.


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