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France calls U.N. meeting on Syria

Aug. 8, 2012 at 6:17 PM
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PARIS, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- France said Wednesday it will call a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria on Aug. 30.

The French Foreign Ministry said the meeting of the Security Council, which France chairs this month, was called to "show its support for the Syrian people, its growing concern for regional stability and its support for a transition to a democratic and pluralist system," Radio France Internationale reported.

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius will visit Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey Aug. 15-17 before chairing the Aug. 30 meeting.

"Despite the divisions that have ruled over recent months, the Security Council cannot remain silence when faced with the tragedy that is playing out in Syria," Fabius spokesman Vincent Floreani said.

The United Nations estimates more than 22,000 Iraqis have fled Syria in the past three weeks, with thousands more having done so since January.

Diplomats said it is unclear if Russia or China, which have vetoed sanctions on Syria on three separate occasions, will attend.

Iran's envoy to Syria, Saeed Jalili, met Syrian President Bashar Assad Tuesday and Iran has invited countries it says have taken a "realistic and principled stand" on the conflict to its own meeting on Syria Thursday. Outgoing U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has said he will not attend, RFI said.

Meanwhile, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Syrian opposition leader Abdel Basset Sayda, chief of the Syrian National Council, said in a joint statement Tuesday they were in "complete agreement" on the serious nature of the crisis and pressed for "speedy action by the international community," noting the situation bears a "great similarity" to Libya and the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

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