LONDON, UK – France says the United Nations Security Council should consider the use of force in Syria if an international peace plan fails to stop the violence in the country under Bashir al-Assad’s regime.
Speaking after a meeting Wednesday with Syrian dissidents in Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said: “We cannot allow the [Damascus] regime to defy us,” adding that Assad’s government has not held to the plan put forward by international peace envoy Kofi Annan, the BBC reports.
The foreign minister demanded that 300 UN observers authorized to enter Syria to monitor the implementation of the plan be deployed within 15 days, insisting that while the Annan plan is not yet dead, “it is severely compromised,” according to the Associated Press.
“We think this mediation should be given a chance, on the condition that the deployment of the observer mission happens quickly,” Juppé said, adding that if the peace plan fails “we would have to move to a new stage with a Chapter Seven resolution” authorizing force “to stop this tragedy.”
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Juppé’s comments came hours after the UN announced it would take up to one month for the first 100 of an approved 300 international observers to arrive in Syria, news that was met with despair and condemnation by human rights activists.
Only 15 monitors, part of an advance team that helped secure an agreement with the Syrian government regarding the freedom of movement the monitors would enjoy, are currently in the country.
On Wednesday Syrian government forces resumed shelling of the neighborhood of Douma, outside Damascus, "despite" the presence of monitors, GlobalPost reports.
Juppé said the May 5 date set for Annan to present a report on the state of the ceasefire in Syria to the Security Council would be “the moment of truth,” Reuters reports, indicating whether “this mediation is working, or it isn’t.”
There are concerns that Russia and China would veto a resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria, with both countries having blocked previous attempts to impose UN sanctions on Syria.
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