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Merkel Slams Russia, China over Syria Stance

31 Aug 2013

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German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit out at Russia and China over their
stance in the Syrian crisis, saying in an interview published Saturday
that their action weakened the United Nations.

"It is very regrettable that Russia and China have refused for some
time to come to a common position (with Western partners) on the
Syrian conflict. This considerably weakens the role of the United
Nations," she said in an interview with regional daily Augsburger
Allgemeine.

Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions that would increase
pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the
conflict in March 2011, reports AFP.

The two countries are also against a current push by the three Western
permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States,
Britain and France -- for a resolution that would allow military
action against Syria over a chemical weapons attack which the West
blames on the regime and the regime blames on the rebels.

In a separate interview to be published on Sunday in Welt am Sonntag
weekly, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged Russia to reconsider
its stance.

"Those who look away despite the use of chemical weapons ... encourage
their use. That is why we are calling on Russia to send a signal along
with the international community," he said.

Merkel reiterated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria had
"broken a taboo" which "cannot remain without consequence".

However, she categorically excluded German participation in any
military action without prior approval from the international
community.

"Germany cannot participate in any military intervention without a
mandate from the United Nations, NATO or the EU," she said.

"Therefore, there is no question of any participation by the Federal
Army at the moment," added Merkel, who is seeking re-elections for a
third consecutive term in a September 22 vote.

A poll published Thursday showed German public opinion firmly against
military action by the West in Syria, with about six in ten people
opposed to any possible strikes and only about a third in favour.

Tags: News, World, Syria Stance

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