Interview with Jean-Yves Le Drian - Le Journal du Dimanche (Excerpts)

April 15, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile



Following Israel’s raid on an Iranian base in Syria on Monday, will Israel be continued to be left to address the Iranian military presence in the country?

In our strategy, the resumption of the political process requires all Syrian and regional players to take part. We are going to discuss the matter with our partners in the Small Group [United States, United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan], but everything possible must be done to avoid Iran’s military presence in Syria resulting in the conflict overflowing beyond Syria’s borders. On Monday, I will ask the EU Foreign Affairs Council ministerial meeting to stand alongside the Syrian people by providing the assistance they need.

The raids on Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal come as we await a decision from Donald Trump by 12 May on whether or not to uphold the Iranian nuclear agreement. Do you think that what just happened could have an impact on the situation?

France considers the Vienna Agreement to be a major achievement in the fight against proliferation. It is essential to preserve it as a bulwark against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and, consequently, the risk of regional proliferation. Whatever enables us to guarantee chemical or nuclear non-proliferation internationally must be respected with the greatest vigilance. That is why we need to continue our conversation with the United States to convince them of that. That does not mean that we are not determined to avoid Iran continuing its ballistic activities, which are aggressive towards its neighbours, and to stifle its temptations of hegemony over the whole region, from Yemen to Lebanon.

Proliferation is also central to the North Korea issue, twelve days ahead of the Summit between the leaders of the two Koreas.

The thaw in relations between leaders Kim and Moon appears positive. It shows that sanctions and international pressure have eventually paid off. The aim is to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula. However, in Syria, North Korea and Iran, it is clear that collective security requires compliance with non-proliferation agreements.