Le Monde | • Updated | By
French parliamentarians who met Wednesday, February 25 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, against the advice of the Quai d’Orsay, had to return to Paris on Thursday, with the feeling of having opened a debate hitherto impossible, on the Syrian policy of France.
“Juppe then Fabius [former and current Foreign Minister] have been telling us that Bashar was on the verge of falling, loose Jacques Myard, UMP of Yvelines, met Wednesday night in a Beirut hotel shortly after leaving Syria. Now, four years after the start of the crisis, it is still there. Like it or not, there is an element of future political settlement. “
” One small step “
well known maverick of the Chamber, sovereignist patented the Maisons-Laffitte mayor argues that the rise of jihadist movements in Syria, such as the Islamic State Group (EI), required to resume the dialogue with Damascus. “The war has changed in nature. Daech [Arabic acronym for EI] is a cancer metastasis. Bashar is certainly not a chick of the day. But the essence of diplomacy is to talk to people we do not like. “
Mr. Myard, like the two other MPs who attended the meeting with Mr. Assad, center-right Senator François Zocchetto and his colleague Jean-Pierre Vial, chairman of the friendship group France-Syria in the upper house, refused to reveal what was said during that interview an hour. They reserve the premiere of this trade to the French authorities.
“I utterly condemn this move. Bashar is not a dictator, he is a butcher, “said Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, first secretary of the PS
The PS MP Gerard Bapt, president of the France-Syria Friendship Group in the National Assembly on the initiative of the “private” mission says he has not attended the meeting with the Syrian President, in accordance with a commitment made before his departure, with the Quai d’Orsay. However, the images show up the presidency of steps, smiling, with his French colleagues. Anxious not to offend too his socialist comrades in government, Mr. Bapt has kept a low profile during the visit, countdown brilliant statements of Mr. Myard. “It’s a small step, a first step, he confided Wednesday night, his face drawn, in the lobby of the Beirut hotel. If we can bring something to lessen the suffering, it will be a good result. “
On Wednesday, the spokesman of the government, Stéphane Le Foll, was again separated from the parliamentary process. “This is an initiative that is in no way an official initiative of France” , has he said.
Several areas of doubt on this movement, giving it a rather different flavor of intentions by Messrs. Myard and Bapt. The shots of the meeting with Mr. Assad issued by the Syrian authorities show that the three MPs were not the only French hosts of the Syrian president. Three other participants are mentioned on the Facebook account of the Syrian president: MM. Stéphane Ravion, Patrick Toussaint Barraquand and Jerome. The first is described by Damascus as a “safe Counsellor of the Embassy of France in Beirut” . A title usurped by the French representation in Lebanon, says Mr. Ravion not part of his staff
Read the reactions. The elected visit to Al-Assad is ” moral fault “according Valls
” Boucher “
On his LinkedIn account, the applicant, a former journalist who was the companion of the sister the King of Morocco, is as done as “strategic business consultant” , who divides his time between Baghdad and Beirut. Its presence in the delegation is reminiscent spooks and “introducers” who had accompanied the UMP deputy Didier Julia in her equipped Iraqi folklore in 2004 to free French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.
Mr. Patrick Barraquand is presented by Damascus as a “Inspector General of the Department of French defense” and “General Secretary of the Government Committee for the Union for the Mediterranean” ( UPM). Two erroneous charges again.
If it has been the linchpin of the Interministerial Mission of the UPM, this close to Nicolas Sarkozy and Henri Guaino was Recase in 2012, after the electoral defeat former President of the Republic, at Bercy, where he held a General Economic and Financial Controller. In the past, Mr. Barraquand worked in arms companies, Eurocopter and Safran, especially in Moscow.
The third non-parliamentary participating in the strange meeting in Damascus, Jérôme Toussaint, is not presented on the Facebook account of the Syrian Presidency and Le Monde could not be identified. “ These people do not represent the government, they had no mission they were carrying no message” , says Romain Nadal, spokesman of the Quai d’Orsay.
Neither Mr. nor Mr. Myard Bapt have responded to requests for clarification of the World . In what capacity MM. Ravion and Barraquand were they accompanied the French elected into the reception room Assad? Why these two men pedigree combining business and security have they built a mission that was meant diplomatic? These issues promise to still further complicate the return to France of parliament, whose journey has attracted much criticism.
The first secretary of the PS, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis has already promised to take sanctions against Mr. Bapt. “I utterly condemn this displacement, he said. Bashar is not a dictator, he is a butcher. “