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Middle east

France warns of UN resolution on use of force in Syria

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-26

Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Wednesday that France wants to see "at least 300" United Nations observers deployed in Syria by May 5, adding that he would push for a UN resolution on the use of force if the deadline was not met.

AFP - France warned Wednesday that it may push for a resolution allowing the use of force in Syria and said it wanted UN monitors to deploy within a fortnight as the peace plan was "strongly compromised".

"Things are not going well, the (Kofi) Annan plan is strongly compromised but there is still a chance for this mediation, on the condition of the rapid deployment of the 300 monitors," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.

He said he wanted them deployed "within a fortnight, not in three months."

Juppe said that May 5 -- when Annan is to present his next report on the peace process -- would be "a moment of truth".

If the UN mission "is not working, we cannot continue to accept the defiance of the regime", he said.

He said the international community would have "to move on to another step which we have already started raising with our partners, under Chapter Seven of the United Nations charter."

A Chapter Seven resolution, which can be imposed by the Security Council if member states think peace is threatened by an act of aggression, authorises foreign powers to take measures including military options.

Juppe pointed out however that such a resolution, which was also mooted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, was unlikely to pass.

"We know well that it would probably face a veto by such or such a member (of the Security Council), but this is one more reason to continue our efforts to explain," he said.

Russia and China have previously vetoed efforts to strengthen measures against the Syrian regime.

"The Damascus regime does not respect the commitments it made. Repression is continuing. Monitors cannot work on the ground. This cannot last indefinitely," Juppe said, after meeting Syrian opposition members.

Juppe said he hoped Russia would draw the right conclusions from Syria's efforts to block the monitors' deployment.

"I hope that they will see that it is the regime that is blocking," he told reporters. "I hope that their position will evolve in light of what is happening on the ground."

UN-Arab League envoy Annan called Tuesday for the rapid deployment of 300 ceasefire monitors in Syria, but a top UN official warned it will take at least one month to get the first 100 in place.

There are now 11 UN observers in place and the 30-strong advance party of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is expected to be in place by the end of the week.

The Security Council voted on Saturday to send the full UNSMIS team, only days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for 300 monitors.

Damascus is however refusing to accept monitors from the Western and Arab coalition of countries in the so-called Friends of Syria group which has backed the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States, France, Britain, Germany, and Arab nations Saudi Arabia and Qatar are leading members of the Friends group which Damascus has dubbed the "Enemies of Syria" group.

Juppe criticised Damascus for trying to control the members of the mission.

"Concerning the Syrian government's veto on this or that contingent, it is unacceptable," he said, adding that France was ready to send monitors if asked.

"It is not up to the Syrian regime to choose from among the possibilities that emerge from the United Nations."

Annan brokered a cessation of hostilities which started on April 12, but killing has continued, amid doubts in Western and Arab capitals that Assad will halt his crackdown on a 13-month-old uprising.

The UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed.
 

Date created : 2012-04-25

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