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No NATO role in Syria, Rasmussen says

Feb. 29, 2012 at 9:38 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- NATO forces won't intervene in Syria because the international community has yet to reach a consensus on how to handle the crisis, the secretary-general said.

The United Nations, in an emergency meeting this week, said high-ranking officials in Damascus were likely responsible for crimes against humanity. An estimated 7,500 people have died in clashes pitting regime forces against anti-governments groups in the country.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a news conference in Washington that the Western alliance "has no intention whatsoever" to get involved in Syria.

"In Libya we had a very clear United Nations mandate and we had active support from a number of countries in the region," he said. "None of these conditions are fulfilled in Syria."

Rasmussen said a regional solution to the crisis in Syria may be the best available solution.

"I commend the Arab League for their efforts to find a solution," he said. "So far it's not been successful but I do believe countries in the region should engage actively in finding a solution."

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Friday he accepted a request from the United Nations and Arab League to serve as a joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis.

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