‘US not powerful enough to bring peace to Syria’ – France’s Hollande

© Ethan Morgan
The US is strong enough to financially discriminate against European companies, but it lacks the capacity to bring peace to Syria, French President Francois Hollande said.

“The US has enough power to get money, but not enough – to establish peace (in Syria),” Hollande told L'Obs magazine on Wednesday.

In his interview, the French leader slammed Washington for imposing multibillion dollar fines on major European companies, while, at the same time, shielding American firms.

As for the situation in Syria, Hollande said that he doesn’t expect any decisive actions from the US until the end of the year because US President Barack Obama, who promised not to engage US in new conflicts abroad, will soon be leaving office.

The French leader promised that France will “not abandon Aleppo” after Russia vetoed its UN Security Council resolution proposing a ‘no fly zone’ over the strategic city, which remains split between government forces and the militants.

“The first condition is that the bombing stops,” he said, adding that Paris will keep pressing for the ceasefire to be reached “in the coming days” to allow humanitarian aid deliveries to Aleppo and the beginning of talks between the interested parties.

Hollande also expressed regret that Russia’s proposal to destroy Syrian chemical weapons averted airstrikes against the government of President Bashar Assad three years ago.

“August 2013 will remain a key date in the history of this conflict. France was ready to hit the Syrian regime, which had crossed a red line,” he said.

But “another route” that was taken by the international community which laid the foundation for the current state of things in the country,” the French leader said.

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Assad sensed the weakness of the West and asked for military assistance from Moscow, while Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) reduced the numbers of moderate opposition, he explained.

“Aleppo today is a challenge for the international community. It’s either honor or shame,” he concluded.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he believes a peaceful resolution to the situation in Aleppo is still possible. Speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour he said that Russia still “strongly supports the initiative by [UN Special Representative for Syria] Staffan de Mistura, who proposed that Al Nusra fighters should be [allowed] to leave eastern Aleppo with the weapons ‘in dignity’” along with the moderate rebels that want to “stay with them.” Rebels who want to stay in Aleppo, meanwhile, should join in with the cessation of hostilities, he said.