As international pressure against Syrian regime is ratcheting up France has urged to use UN-sanctioned force to implement Kofi Annan peace plan with a no-fly zone being an option.
In his strongest statement on Syria French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius proposed making the six-point peace plan obligatory by invoking the UN’s “Charter 7” provision which allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention.
“The situation in Syria has taken an even more serious and horrid turn,” he said as quoted by Reuters. “We have been informed that children are being used as human shields by the regime, placed in front of tanks, tortured, raped and assassinated.”
“To stop this civil war from getting worse, we have to find a way for Assad to leave power and find a way for the opposition to create an alternative transition. But it’s clear today … that it is a civil war.”
The French foreign minister said that a no-fly zone was an option that would be under discussion to stop the “massacres.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian speak to the media after their meeting in Yerevan
Russia on Monday rejected the deadline for Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan whilst Syrian government forces continued their crackdown on rebel bastions in the north, killing at least 18 people.
“Ultimatums and artificial deadlines rarely help matters,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while on a visit to Armenia.
Lavrov added that only the United Nations Security Council – on which Russia wields veto power – could put any time restrictions on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s compliance with Annan’s peace plan.
“Annan has a Security Council mandate and it is up to the UN Security Council to decide who is complying with this plan and how,” he said.
At the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul over the weekend Western and Arab nations agreed to ask the UN to set a deadline for Assad to comply with Annan’s Syria peace plan.
The plan includes demands for ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of tanks and artillery from residential areas and access for humanitarian aid. Currently the plan doesn’t include a time frame by which Assad must comply.
UN Security Council members China and Russia, as well as Syria’s ally Iran, did not attend the meeting.
The Russian foreign minister said he did not attend the summit because representatives from Assad’s government were not invited.
“We intend to be friends with both sides in Syria,” Lavrov said.