France slams Russia stand on UN resolution

AFP, Saturday 10 Mar 2012

French Foreign Minsiter Alain Juppe criticizes Russia's position on a UN draft resolution on Syria that aims to clinch a humanitarian ceasefire and access for humanitarian aid in the most threatened areas by violence

France
Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council opposition group (left) and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. (Photo: AP)

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe implicitly slammed Russia's stance on a draft UN resolution on Syria on Saturday, saying there were no grounds to demand a simultaneous halt to violence.

"Currently any possibility of reaching an agreement over a Security Council accord is blocked," Juppe, who will be in New York on Monday to discuss the draft, said at the close of EU foreign ministers' talks in the Danish capital.

"We will not accept that the regime and those fighting against the repression of the regime be considered back to back," he said. "It's up to the regime to take the initiative, to stop the repression."

The resolution aims to clinch a humanitarian ceasefire and access for humanitarian aid in the areas most threatened by violence which the opposition says has already claimed 8,500 lives.

Russia and its diplomatic ally China infuriated the West by vetoing in February a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime for the bloodshed in Syria and has shown little sign of shifting its policy since.

But Moscow is under huge pressure from the West and Arab states led by Saudi Arabia to start exerting pressure on Assad's regime and support sanctions over the bloody crackdown.

Shortly after Juppe spoke, however, Arab and Russian foreign ministers meeting in Cairo called for an end to the violence in Syria "whatever its source", as they try to reach common ground on ways to resolve the deadly conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after a meeting at the Arab League headquarters on Syria that he and his Arab counterparts want "an end to the violence whatever its source."

Asked whether he had hoped Moscow could be swayed after Vladimir Putin's re-election to the presidency, Juppe said: "I thought a more consensual dialogue could be engaged with the Russian authorities once the elections were over."

"For the time being this hope hasn't transpired."

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