Moscow, Berlin shoot down Syria intervention option
PARIS: World powers including Russia and Germany said Wednesday it was premature to speculate about a military intervention in Syria after France’s president said armed force was not ruled out.
French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that use of force could not be excluded in Syria, as long as it was carried out with the backing of the United Nations Security Council.
His comments came after Germany, Britain, France, the United States and other Western nations expelled Syrian diplomats in the wake of a massacre at the weekend in which 108 people, almost half of them children, were killed in the area of Houla.
But Russia, whose support would be necessary for any Security Council resolution, quickly shot down the idea of new UN action or armed intervention.
“We believe that a review now by the Security Council of any new measures on the situation would be premature,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency.
“It is essential to give the plan of (UN-Arab League envoy) Kofi Annan time to work” because intervention could “only exacerbate the situation for both Syria and the region as a whole,” he added.
Another top Russian official said the idea of armed intervention appeared to be based on “emotion”.
“Such statements are driven by political emotion,” said First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.
“There is a medical principle that says ‘do not make it worse’. We should not forget it. The most important thing is to remain realistic about what is happening in Syria,” Denisov said. Germany also said it saw no grounds to speculate on a possible military intervention.
“From the federal government’s point of view, there is no reason to speculate over military options,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was quoted as saying in an interview to appear in Thursday’s issue of the Die Welt daily.
“We want to help the people in Syria and we want to prevent unrest spreading like wildfire in the region,” added the minister.
He said the international community had to use “all political leverage” to bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria and ensure the implementation of the Annan peace plan.
He called on those “who have hesitated to withdraw their support” from Syria to act decisively to isolate the regime in Damascus.