UN powers clash over Syria strife

UNITED NATIONS- The UN Security Council powers clashed Wednesday over how to halt the Syrian crackdown on protests, with Russia warning Western nations that "outside interference" could spark civil war.
France called for "strong measures" if President Bashar al-Assad rejects appeals to end violence in which hundreds have died. The United States said Assad must "change course now and heed the calls of his own people" for change.

UN powers clash over Syria strife
But after blocking a Security Council statement that would condemn the violence, Russia insisted that the Syrian crackdown did not amount to a threat to international peace and security which would justify international action.
"A real threat to regional security could come from outside interference," Russia's deputy UN ambassador Alexander Pankin told the council. "Such approaches lead to a never ending circle of violence" and could set off civil war.
China's envoy Li Baodong also said that "constructive help" had to be given to Syria.
A top UN official told the meeting that between 350 and 400 people have been killed in Syria since mid-March. Rights activists have given a toll of at least 450 dead.
"If nothing positive happens, France, with others, will study a series of options aiming to increase pressure on the Syrian regime so that it stops the repression and engages on the path to reform," said French ambassador Gerard Araud.
Germany would also back "appropriate measures," German envoy Peter Wittig told the council meeting.
The European Union is to discuss sanctions against Syria on Friday.

Wednesday, April 27th 2011

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