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EU: 'Military intervention in Syria would be disastrous'

Published time: March 09, 2012 19:44
Edited time: March 09, 2012 23:53
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (C) speaks next to President of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Abdul Rahman Attar (L) during her visit to Damascus March 8, 2012 (Reuters / Khaled al-Hariri)

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (C) speaks next to President of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Abdul Rahman Attar (L) during her visit to Damascus March 8, 2012 (Reuters / Khaled al-Hariri)

EU foreign ministers have united to speak against military intervention in Syria, saying sanctions appear to be working. Meanwhile the UN humanitarian mission is slowly making its way in the troubled country.

On Friday EU foreign ministers gathered in Copenhagen for an informal meeting in which the issue of Syria topped the agenda.

Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said any talk of military intervention was “counter-productive,” adding that “large-scale fire” would bring “really disastrous consequences for the region, the people, and the world.”

His position was echoed by Luxemburg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn. “We must be patient,” he said “We will unfortunately have to face seeing more victims, but military intervention would be worse.”

Swedish FM Carl Bildt also said that the EU’s priority should be to prevent Syria from “descending into full-scale sectarian war.”

“We are searching truly for a political solution,” the diplomat stated. “Whether that is possible or not remains to be seen.”

Denmark’s FM, Villy Soevndal, also spoke against military interference, saying strong sanctions against Syria appear to be working.

In the previous 11 rounds, the EU froze the assets of more than 38 organizations and 100 individuals, and worked to cut the country’s supply of equipment for its oil and gas sectors.

Earlier on Friday the foreign ministers of France and Morocco announced their opposition to outside military intervention in Syria.

"We reject any military intervention in Syria, and the Arab League has always favored a political solution," Morocco's Saad Eddine Othmani said at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Alain Juppe.

Speaking on Syria, many EU diplomats also called on Russia and China to act responsibly as another draft resolution on Syria is currently being discussed at the UN Security Council.

The two countries have already vetoed two resolutions citing an unbalanced approach towards the Syrian government and the opposition.

On Saturday Russian FM Sergey Lavrov is due to meet with Arab League representatives. He will then fly to New York to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the situation in Syria and a new draft resolution on Syria.

­UN humanitarian mission making progress

The UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, announced on Friday that Syria has agreed to a joint mission to assess the country’s humanitarian needs.

“While this is a necessary first step, it remains essential that a robust and regular arrangement be put in place, which allows humanitarian organizations unhindered access to evacuate the wounded and deliver desperately needed supplies,” she told reporters in Ankara.

Amos arrived in Turkey after a two-day visit to Syria. She has also visited Syrian refugee camps along the Turkish-Syrian border, where some 12,000 people have found shelter.

As the conflict in the country continues yet more high ranking military officials are fleeing Syria. On Friday Turkey’s Foreign Ministry reported that two Syrian generals, a colonel and a sergeant had arrived in a refugee camp along with 200 other escapees.

The Free Syrian Army claims that so far seven brigadier generals have defected from Assad’s army, with six fleeing to Turkey and another staying in Syria to fight for the rebels.

Another top UN official to visit Syria shortly is the special envoy of the UN and the Arab League, Kofi Annan. He is expected to arrive in Damascus on Saturday.

Ahead of his visit Annan called on the rebels and government forces to establish a dialogue. But the call has been angrily rejected by the opposition.

The chairman of the Syrian Transitional National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, said Annan had disappointed Syrian people with this proposal.

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