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Cessez le Feu! Don't Let France Kill the Syria Peace Talks
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 23 May 2013 - 3:40pm
Usually when we write to you, it's the U.S. government that is blocking chances for diplomacy to prevent, contain, reduce and end violent conflict.
But this time it's different. This time, it's the French who appear to be standing in the way of peace!
The U.S. and Russia have agreed to host a peace conference to try to end the Syrian civil war. But France says it will oppose the peace conference if Iran is invited. C'est scandaleux!
For peace talks to have a chance to end the war, all the parties involved in the conflict have to be there. Excluding Iran would likely condemn the peace talks to failure, more Syrian civilians would die for no reason, and calls for direct US military intervention would increase.
Join us in telling Washington to explain to France that trying to exclude Iran from the Syria peace talks would be a major faux pas.
Last Friday, Reuters reported: 
“As far as we are concerned, not Iran," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told reporters in Paris, discussing who should attend. "What's at stake is regional stability and we can't see how a country that represents a threat to this stability could attend this conference.”
The U.S., on the other hand, kept the possibility of Iran's participation open:
The United States said on Thursday that it was not ruling anyone in or out of the conference.
As Al-Monitor argued in a recent editorial, 
For the Geneva II conference on Syria to have the best chance of enacting a cease-fire and beginning a transition, Iran needs to be there.
It should be a no-brainer to have all parties to a conflict represented at a peace conference. There is no "transition" in Syria absent a cease-fire, and no cease-fire without Iran, which provides the military and intelligence lifeline to the Assad regime.
Iran is unlikely to agree to a deal where its interests and influence are not recognized in Syria.
The likely result of Iran’s exclusion from Geneva II would be Tehran digging in on behalf of the Syrian regime, thereby doing its best to assure the conference will end with no result but more violence.
As Hillary Clinton said in December 2007: 
Well, there are a lot of bad actors in the world, and you don‘t make peace with your friends. You‘ve got to deal with your enemies, your opponents, people whose interests diverge from yours.
Hillary was right. If we want to end the war in Syria, we have to talk to the people who can end it. Urge Washington to explain to the French that trying to exclude Iran would be a major faux pas.
Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,
Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
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1. "France opposes Syria conference if Iran to attend," Darya Korsunskaya, Reuters, May 17, 2013, http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/hold-syrian-peace-talks-soon-says-u-n-1...
2. "Iran Key to Success of Geneva II Talks on Syria," Editorial, Al-Monitor, May 19, 2003, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/iran-us-geneva-ii-talk...
3. "'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Jan. 23," January 24, 2007, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16788619/