Britain rules out military intervention in Syria

UK Foreign Minister Hague calls for more sanctions, int'l pressure on Syria; Germany, Italy want UNSC meeting on worsening violence.

By REUTERS
August 1, 2011 11:13
2 minute read.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Britain wants stronger international pressure on Syria, including from Arab nations, over its crackdown on protesters, but rules out military intervention, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.

"We do want to see additional sanctions ... We want to see stronger international pressure all round. Of course, to be effective, that can't just be pressure from Western nations, that includes from Arab nations, it includes from Turkey," Hague told the BBC in an interview.

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Seeking military action against Syria, even with UN authority, was "not a remote possibility," he said.

Russia said on Monday it was concerned by reports of bloodshed in the Syrian city of Hama and called for an end to the violence.

"Moscow is seriously concerned by information about numerous casualties," the Foreign Ministry said. "The use of force against civilians and representatives of state structures is unacceptable and must cease."

Rights activists said 80 civilians were killed in Sunday's tank-backed assault on the central Syrian city of Hama, one of the bloodiest days of a five-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Germany has requested that the UN Security Council meet on Monday to discuss the worsening violence in Syria, a spokesman for the German mission at the United Nations said.

The request came after human rights groups said 80 people had been killed in the Syrian city of Hama when government troops stormed in on Sunday to crush protests amid a five-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.



Germany holds the rotating Security Council presidency until midnight on Sunday, then India takes over for the month of August.

German spokesman Alexander Eberl said his mission had asked the Indian mission to schedule closed-door council consultations for Monday and it was likely to take place in the afternoon, New York time.

Italy also reportedly called on Sunday night for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Syria, urging European envoys in Damascus to meet Monday.

"We request that the United Nations Security Council hold an urgent meeting and adopt a very firm position," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was quoted by AFP as saying in an interview to public broadcaster RAI.

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