August 27, 2013

From the AP: France and Germany suggested Monday they may take part in a military intervention in Syria, while Russia said any such intervention would violate international law.

Submitted by:  Veronica Coffin


FRANCE – President Francois Hollande says time is running out for the Syrian regime and airstrikes are a possibility.

‘Everything will come into play this week,’ he told Le Parisien newspaper. ‘There are several options on the table, ranging from strengthening international sanctions to airstrikes to arming the rebels… We can’t go without a reaction when confronted with chemical weapons.’

GERMANY – Germany suggested for the first time it may support the use of force if a chemical weapons attack is confirmed.

‘The suspected large-scale use of poison gas breaks a taboo even in this Syrian conflict that has been so full of cruelty,’ Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday. ‘It’s a serious breach of the international Chemical Weapons Convention, which categorically bans the use of these weapons. It must be punished, it cannot remain without consequences.’

Germany has ‘very clear evidence that this was a chemical weapons attack,’ Seibert said.

RUSSIA – Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western nations calling for military action against Syria have no proof the regime is behind the alleged attack.

‘They cannot produce evidence, but keep on saying that the “red line” has been crossed and they cannot wait any longer,’ he said. He warned against military intervention in Syria, saying ‘the use of force without a sanction of the U.N. Security Council is a crude violation of international law.’

BRITAIN – Foreign Secretary William Hague said disagreements among the five U.N. Security Council members have prevented any action over Syria from being taken for too long and ‘complete unity’ wasn’t necessary to launch a response.

‘We cannot in the 21st century allow the idea that chemical weapons can be used with impunity,’ he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said lawmakers could be recalled to debate any potential action over Syria as soon as this week. Cameron’s spokesman said the British government reserves ‘the ability to take action swiftly if needed.’

TURKEY – Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country would take part in an international coalition against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime if the U.N. failed to come up with sanctions to punish Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Turkey was once a close Syrian ally, but turned into one of Assad’s harshest critics and is a key supporter of Syrian rebels.

UNITED NATIONS – Speaking to reporters in the South Korean capital of Seoul, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ‘if proven, any use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is a serious violation of international law and an outrageous crime. We cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity.’

EUROPEAN UNION – EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said a decision about military intervention in Syria hasn’t been made yet and the support of the U.N. Security Council for any such action remains ‘extremely important.’

Ashton told reporters in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, the world ‘needs to find a political solution’ for Syria’s bloodshed. She said it is difficult for the 28-member EU to reach a joint conclusion, but the bloc is considering ‘various options.’

ISRAEL President Shimon Peres has called on the U.N. to appoint the Arab League to set up a temporary government in Syria to stop the bloodshed.

Peres’ comments marked the highest-profile Israeli call for international intervention in neighboring Syria. Israel has been careful to stay on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 100,000.

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