PARIS (Reuters) - Syria’s parliamentary elections on Wednesday are a “sham” organized by “an oppressive regime,” France’s foreign ministry said, adding that viable elections could only take place after a political transition and new constitution.
“France denounces this sham of an election organized by the regime,” foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a daily briefing on Wednesday. “They are being held without campaigning, under the auspices of an oppressive regime and without international observation.”
Nadal said only elections as part of a U.N. resolution that paves the way for a transition in the country would be valid.
In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the context for the next round of intra-Syria peace talks beginning later on Wednesday was difficult especially for the Western-backed opposition after provocations by the government.
“France continues to be extremely concerned by the increasing and deliberate violations of the cessation of hostilities, for which the regime is mainly responsible, and the ongoing obstacles to provide humanitarian access,” he said.
The already widely violated “cessation of hostilities” agreement brokered by Russia and the United States has been strained to breaking point by an upsurge in fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels near Aleppo.
The chairman of a U.N. humanitarian taskforce has also said aid access has slowed down, largely because of blockages by government-backed forces.
“These actions of the Syrian regime, which are putting the Geneva negotiations in peril, must end,” Ayrault said.
Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Toby Chopra, Leigh Thomas