France urges China, Russia to change tune on Syria

July 13, 2012 22:09


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PARIS - French President Francois Hollande urged Russia and China on Friday to change tack on Syria and back UN moves towards tougher sanctions on Bashar Assad's government.

Hollande's remarks came shortly after Syrian opposition sources said some 220 people, mostly civilians, had been killed in a village in Hama region when it was bombarded by helicopter gunships and tanks and then stormed by militiamen.

"If we're seeing people die every day it's because the regime has decided to use force to crush its own population," the French leader told reporters.

"To be clear, what I am telling Russia and China is that by doing nothing to allow us go to tougher sanctions, (they will allow) war and chaos to take hold of Syria, damaging their interests," he said on the sidelines of an army ceremony in Paris.

China and Russia have used their UN Security Council veto to shield Assad from coordinated condemnation and sanctions.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the latest reported killings, if confirmed, "showed it was urgent that the UN Security Council take strong action."

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