Hollande reaffirms support for Syrian opposition, militants.
He told the 100 or so delegations, representing national governments and regional and international organisations, that what is happening in Syria "is unbearable for human conscience and for international security." Kuwait is represented at the meeting by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamed Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister for Cabinet Affairs, in addition to representing the presidency of the Arab League, which Kuwait currently holds.
The militants are "courageous, determined and proud", Hollande affirmed. "They have taken their destiny in their hands." Around 50 representatives of diverse opposition groups are attending the Paris meeting and some have come here directly from Syria and will return there later.
"I want to tell them, in the name of France, and I believe in your name, they have our full support," the French President told participants.
Just before the meeting, Hollande visited an exhibit in the conference centre called: "The House of Syria" and met opposition militants and was urged to do more to help the Syrian people.
"You have already installed you embassy," Hollande remarked when visiting the exhibit.
"We need more acts. Conferences are all very well but we need more than this," a female militant told him.
"We need acts to go with the words," Hollande observed.
In his opening speech, the French leader indeed said more acts were needed, especially in the UN Security Council, where Russian and Chinese opposition has prevented tough sanctions being taken against Syria.
The Security Council must take "strong measures" to follow up on the Geneva declaration of principles and we must supply a political solution.
The French leader said that the results of the Geneva meeting June 30 were "not entirely satisfactory" and there is no mention that Al-Assad must leave in the final declaration, although some are seeking this interpretation.
Hollande warned that the security and stability situation in the region "is a threat to world peace." "The situation is even more dangerous because the Syrian regime has no other strategy than an escalation of the massacres." This is forcing more people to defect from the regime and it is this situation "that can lead to civil war", Hollande warned.
"It is for this reason that we must speed up the (transition) process. It is a human and political necessity. We owe it to the Syrian people, we owe it to Syria's neighbours who rightly fear for their future. We also owe it to our guiding principles for the future of the planet." Hollande obliquely warned Russia that its concerns were unfounded that a departure by Al-Assad will lead to chaos.
"To those who are not here at this moment, this crisis has become a threat to peace and security. Bashar must go. Assad remaining will lead to having the most detestable regime, and to chaos as well," the President said.
"The regime of Bashar Al-Assad will not last. Its fall is inevitable," he added.
He also set out five objectives for the Paris Conference: The refusal of impunity for crimes; reinforcing the implementation of "real and effective" sanctions against Damascus; reaffirming support for the Syrian opposition; boosting humanitarian aid for civilians; and promising the international community will rebuild Syria after the transition. (End) jk.rk KUNA 061142 Jul 12NNNN
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