Moscow opposing Syrian sanctions

Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Despite warnings from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russia said Tuesday that U.N. Security Council action on Syria wouldn't stop violence there.

The European Union hit members of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad with new punitive measures in response for a brutal crackdown on demonstrations against the government.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement said EU sanctions sent a strong message to Assad that he was losing face in the international community.

"The message is clear and unambiguous. Those responsible for the repression will be singled out and held accountable," he said.

The international community condemned Assad's government for a bloody response to opposition protests in the city of Hama on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A statement from the French Embassy in Washington said Paris hoped the Security Council would speak out "loud and clear" against the violence in Syria.

Clinton had said that members of the international community needed a united stance against Damascus.

"We call on those members of the United Nations Security Council who have opposed any Security Council action that would call on Assad to stop the killing to reconsider their positions," she said in a statement.

But Sergei Vershinin, a top diplomat in the Russian Foreign Ministry's Middle East and North African division, said any Security Council action wouldn't be effective.

"It is wrong to exert pressure on Syria with U.N. sanctions," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "That will bring no result."

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