Failure in Syria risks 'total war' for region: Hollande

7th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Failure to act in Syria risks stoking a "total war" in the Middle East, French President Francois Hollande said in a landmark speech to the European Parliament alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"What happens in Syria concerns Europe, what happens there will determine the balance of the whole region for a long time," Hollande told European lawmakers in Strasbourg.

"If we leave these religious clashes between Sunnis and Shiites, they will grow. Don't think we will be sheltered, this will be a total war."

Hollande, whose country has launched air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria, appeared to criticise Russia for its air attacks in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"We have to construct in Syria, with all those who can contribute, a political future which gives the Syrian people an alternative to Bashar or Daesh," Hollande said, using another name for IS.

Hollande and Merkel were giving the first joint speech to the European Parliament by the leaders of France and Germany since Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl in 1989.

© 2015 AFP

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