France Presses For New UN Resolution on Syria
February 15, 2012
Lisa Bryant | Paris
France is pushing to renegotiate a United Nations resolution on ending the violence in Syria after the measure was rejected by Russia and China earlier this month. The initiative comes ahead of a non-binding vote by the U.N. General Assembly on the Syrian crisis.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says France is keeping up the pressure on Russia and China to back a United Nations resolution on ending the conflict in Syria. Both countries vetoed the measure in the U.N. Security Council earlier this month, blocking the body from endorsing an Arab League and Western-backed plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
Speaking on France-Info radio, Juppe said Paris is trying to renegotiate the resolution in a way that Russia might agree to it. He is to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Thursday - the same day that the U.N. General Assembly votes on a Syria resolution.
That measure is expected to accuse Syria of rights violations and urge the government to stop its deadly crackdown on the 11-month opposition uprising against President Assad.
Juppe said while the General Assembly resolution is nonbinding, it would be a symbol with force if dozens of countries endorse it. And he described the Arab League plan as the only initiative on the table offering a peaceful way out of the crisis.
Juppe's remarks coincided with a new offensive by Syrian government forces in the city of Hama, and more shelling in another Syrian city, Homs.
On Tuesday, France announced a $131-million emergency fund for aid agencies trying to help the Syrian population. Paris will push the initiative during an international meeting on the Syrian crisis in Tunis next week.
Juppe also said the Security Council should take up another French proposal - to open humanitarian corridors into Syria to allow aid access and link the population to the borders of Turkey and Lebanon.
The French proposals come as the international community continues to increase pressure on President Assad's government The United States and European Union members have imposed tough sanctions. Officials say the EU is expected to announce more sanctions against Syria, possibly later this month.
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