French President Francois Hollande said on Friday that the only way out of the ongoing crisis in Syria was the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which would require an increase in international pressure and more U.N. sanctions.
“The regime of Bashar al-Assad has behaved in an unacceptable and intolerable manner and has committed acts which disqualify it,” Hollande told a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, according to Reuters.
“No solution to this crisis is possible without the departure of Bashar al-Assad.”
“I believe that more sanctions are an essential part of a political solution,” he said.
“There must be sanctions” against the Syrian regime, Hollande added, noting that he recognized “the risks of destabilization, the risks of civil war” in Syria, AFP reported.
President Putin, meanwhile, said that further pressure on the regime will radicalize the country and lead to civil war.
“On sanctions, such question needs to be discussed primarily by the U.N. Security Council. Sanctions don’t always work. The main thing we need to do is to prevent the situation from developing under the worst scenario and not let a civil war take place,” Putin told the news conference.
Putin said it was “counterproductive” to announce that the mission of U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan had failed despite ongoing violence and he stuck to opposition to U.N. sanctions on Damascus.
“Mr. Annan is a very experienced and respectable person, and we must do everything for his mission to succeed. I think it is counterproductive to announce his mission as a failure in advance,” he said.