'Foreign intervention in Syria will ignite region'

Iranian FM Salehi says western pressure on Damascus part of Syria "paying the price of its resistance” to Israel.

February 5, 2012 15:26
2 minute read.
Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi

Salehi 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Foreign military intervention in Syria will lead to an "explosion in the entire region, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi warned in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar television station on Saturday night.

"I'm confident that any military action against Syria will blow up the entire region ... a military intervention does not solve any problem, especially because the Syrian situation differs from that of Libya, seeing the country's sole role is fighting Israel,” Salehi said, adding that “Syria is now paying the price of its resistance.”

The Iranian foreign minister claimed that Russia and China decided to veto a UN resolution calling for the ouster of Syria President Bashar Assad because they were aware it was part of a western plan to take control of the region.

"The Russians are aware now that the Western states are interfering in the Middle East to draw a new map for the region," he said.

He questioned the Arab League for pushing for the UN resolution while the observer mission was still performing it duties in Syria.

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While western powers have thus far ruled out a Libya-style military intervention in Syria, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday that France was consulting with Arab and European countries to create a contact group on Syria to find a solution to its crisis after the UN Security Council resolution was vetoed by Russia and China.

France and Britain had crafted the resolution, which condemned the Syrian government's violent crackdown on 11 months of protests and backed an Arab League peace plan that would see President Bashar Assad give up power.

Sarkozy, speaking after his Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the twin veto had paralysed the international community, accused Moscow and Beijing of "encouraging the (Syrian) regime to continue with its cruel policies without an end.

"France is not giving up," Sarkozy said in a statement, saying France was in touch with Arab and European partners to create a "Friends of the Syrian People Group" that would marshal international support to implement the Arab League plan.

Sarkozy did not give further details on the initiative.

Last year he set up a Libya contact group to create a political roadmap backed by international players as part of efforts to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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