France’s foreign minister gave conflicting reasons for his country not getting involved in the coalition conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, first suggesting that the military action would be illegal and then saying “France cannot do everything.” Meanwhile, France has agreed to strike ISIS in Iraq.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday his government didn't believe it had the legal basis to join the Syria operations, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The country already conducted airstrikes near Mosul against the militant group formerly known as ISIS and now known as the Islamic State group, Fabius told Reuters.
Fabius then said legal questions weren’t the basis for France not joining airstrikes in Syria. "I think it is possible to act. Therefore the question is not a question of legality, international legality,” he told Reuters. “But, first, France cannot do everything. And second, we consider that to support the moderate opposition and to fight both Bashar and Daesh is a necessity," Fabius said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad and an alternative name for the Islamic State group.
French President François Hollande is set to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday at a time when Tehran is trying to negotiate with the West over its nuclear program. Fabius said Iran could be involved in counteracting the Islamic State group, but that any action would have to be independent of the U.S.-coalition against the militants.
"Because of their geographical position and what they say, and attitude towards Daech, they can do something. Not in the coalition, in the narrow sense of this word, but more generally speaking," he said.