Now too late for Syrian regime: French foreign minister

18th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday in Ankara that "it is now too late" for the Syrian regime to remain in power because it failed to implement necessary reforms.

"We believe that the (Syrian) regime was not willing to implement a reform programme and now it is too late," Juppe said after a meeting with the Turkish parliament's foreign relations committe head, Volkan Bozkir.

Juppe said both France and Turkey had an "overlapping approach" concerning the Syrian crisis.

Asked if Turkey sharing a 910-kilometer border with Syria should establish a buffer-zone to protect civilians, an idea floated by the Syrian opposition, Juppe said: "It is up to Turkey but we think that such a measure should be decided in accordance with the international community."

The UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose binding measures, he added.

Juppe arrived in Istanbul late on Thursday, meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After Turkey, the French minister is due to visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime since an anti-government uprising began in March.

Ankara has already announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.

On Wednesday, France announced it has recalled its ambassador to Syria after its diplomatic missions there were attacked amid ongoing protests against the Assad regime.

© 2011 AFP

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