French defense minister open to Syria buffer zones

By REUTERS
August 23, 2012 22:48

 
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PARIS - French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested on Thursday that Western nations and allies could consider setting up a limited no-fly zone over part of Syria without a UN Security Council mandate.

But Le Drian, speaking on France 24 television, said a no-fly zone could not occur without "an international coalition," something that at the moment does not exist.

"The scenario mentioned by (US Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton of a particular zone where there could be a banned area is something that needs to be studied," said Le Drian, speaking on France 24 television.

Le Drian's statement marked the first time a senior French official had suggested that an "international coalition," rather than the United Nations, could intervene in Syria.

Russia and China, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, have blocked intervention in Syria.

The United States and Turkey said on August 11 they were looking at all measures to help Syrian rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

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