“We must have a Syria without Assad and without IS”

The Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) has called for a political solution to the conflict in Syria with free and fair elections. Mr Michel did so in an address to the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York.

"Both the terrorist organisation IS and the regime of president Assad need combatted”, Mr Michel said.

"Syria needs strong institution and a legitimate government. This is the only possible way to regain peace and stability. We call for complete approach, embracing both political and humanitarian aspects. The military option can only be considered within the framework of international law.”

"We shouldn’t choose between Assad and IS. We must have a Syria without Assad and without IS”, Mr Michel reiterated in an interview with the VRT’s current affairs programme “Terzake”.

Mr Michel believes that there is a need for dialogue between the various parties involved in the conflict. He added that clarity also needs to be given about Russia’s strategy with regard to Syria.

"The door is open, but the chance of a settlement remains small. However, we should seize this chance, however small it might be to create an opportunity for political dialogue”, Mr Michel told Terzake.

Mr Michel added that he had had a long and interesting conversation with the UN’s Special Envoy to Syria. The Belgian Prime Minister believes that the talks between the Amerika President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have opened a dialogue.

Mr Michel stresses the need for the formation on an international coalition that includes Russia, the United, Iran and Europe.
"We should fight against IS while at the same time trying to achieve a political transition. Free and credible elections need to be held in Syria with a new government that respects all. Only then can peace and stability be achieved.”

Belgium is seen as a trustworthy partner when it comes to our country’s participation in international military operations. However, Mr Michel rules out Belgian participation in any military operation in Syria that does not also contain a humanitarian element.

"Lessons should be learned from Libya. After the military operation there, there was almost nothing was done in the political, diplomatic and humanitarian field.