Laurent Fabius, summit COP21.jpg

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is leaving his post after playing a key role in the country's major foreign policy challenges such as the Syrian war, and overseeing a pivotal international climate summit.

President Francois Hollande intends to appoint Fabius as the head of the Constitutional Council, which supervises elections and interprets the constitution, the Elysee Palace said.

"This is a position that I've enjoyed very much," Fabius said Wednesday in an interview with broadcaster iTele. "I think we have done a good job of which France can be proud."

"Especially with the COP21, we have accomplished things that are useful to the world," he said, referring to the UN-sponsored climate summit that resulted in the first global accord to keep the planet's temperature rise within a certain limit.

Fabius said he regretted that the world had not followed France's position on Syria, where conflict has raged since 2011. France has consistently called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down as part of a political transition, and Fabius again referred to the leader's "fearful brutality" to his people.

As chief diplomat, Fabius was deeply involved in the negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran. He and his team at times took a tougher stance towards Tehran than the United States, by insisting on additional nuclear concessions by the Islamic Republic.

At the same time, Fabius never lost sight of France's business interests in Iran. Only two weeks after the nuclear deal was struck last July, he travelled to Tehran to prepare the ground for resuming business ties.

Concern over Fabius' health had risen since he collapsed during a public meeting last year, and observers have long speculated over his departure from the cabinet. Fabius has rejected journalists' questions about his health.

His successor is still unclear. French media have speculated that Environment Minister Segolene Royal and former prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are being eyed for the role.

Hollande is expected to pursue a broader reshuffle of the cabinet, led by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as he looks towards the 2017 elections.

Last month, he lost one of the cabinet's leading leftist voices when Christiane Taubira, the justice minister, resigned in protest over a proposed constitutional amendment aiming to legalize stripping French citizenship from convicted terrorists.

Fabius, 69, who will remain in his ministerial post until the nomination process is complete, has been France's top diplomat since 2012. In the 1980s, he became one of the youngest politicians to hold the office of prime minister, under the presidency of Francois Mitterrand.

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.