France skeptical of Geneva II talks, says "pessimistic" over Syria
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that the moderate opposition to the Syrian regime was in “serious difficulty” and that France is “pessimistic” about the success of a planned peace conference set for next month.
“The moderate opposition that we support is in serious difficulty,” Fabius said in Monaco, according to Agence France-Presse.
The minister also voiced “doubts” over the prospects of peace talks, known as Geneva 2.
“In Syria, I am sadly quite pessimistic,” Laurent Fabius told delegates at the World Policy Conference in Monaco.
“We are working on the success of [the Geneva talks] but we can have a great deal of doubt on that,” said the top French diplomat.
Fabius said Syria’s moderate opposition, which Paris has supported, was in “great difficulty,” in reference to the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Coalition.
Geneva 2 is currently set for Jan. 22.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition groups have stated their willingness to attend Geneva 2 peace talks, but they disagree on how the transition of power and the presence of officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia, which backs the rebels, at the talks.
Syria’s civil war is estimated to have killed almost 126,000 people over nearly three years.