French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned on Thursday a group of French lawmakers for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a day earlier in Damascus.
“I condemn this initiative. I condemn it because French lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to meet with a dictator who is the cause of one of the worst civil wars of recent years,” Hollande told reporters in the Philippines.
For his part, Valls “condemned with the greatest strength” a decision by the lawmakers to meet Assad.
“I want to condemn this initiative with the greatest strength,” Valls told TV station BFMTV.
“For parliamentarians to go without warning to meet a butcher…. I think it was a moral failing.”
France cut diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012 and supports the armed opposition terrorists, seeking the removal of Assad from power.
Earlier on Wednesday, a French delegation consisting of four lawmakers visited Damaascus and met with President Assad and other officials.
The delegation was headed by Senate member, Head of the Senate’s French-Syrian Friendship Committee Jean-Pierre Vial.
One of the lawmakers, Jacques Myard told al-Manar that President Bashar al-Assad is a part of the solution in Syria.
“International community should deal with President Assad as a part of the political solution in Syria,” the French MP told al-Manar as he arrived in Beirut on Wednesday.