Russia Syria Position Shifts

12/16/2011 11:13 am ET | Updated Feb 15, 2012

PARIS, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Russia's draft U.N. Security
Council resolution on Syria is unacceptable to France, but
Moscow's recognition that the body must react to the bloodshed
is a positive step, France's Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Russia unexpectedly presented a new, beefed-up draft
resolution on the violence in Syria to the security council on
Thursday. Western envoys said the text was too weak even though
it expanded and toughened previous Russian drafts.

Both Russia and China vetoed a West European draft
resolution in October that contained a threat of sanctions.

"For France, it is a positive development that Russia has
decided to recognise that the serious deterioration of the
situation in Syria merits a Security Council resolution," French
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told a regular news

Describing the blockage in the security council as
scandalous, Valero said that a U.N. resolution should be quickly
adopted condemning crimes against humanity in Syria and
supporting a credible, political solution.

"It (France) is ready to work with all of its partners but
it underlines that the Russian text has elements that are not
acceptable in their current form," Valero said.

"It's in particular unacceptable to put the Syrian regime's
repression on the same level as the Syrian people's resistance,"
he added.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday
Russia did not believe both sides in Syria were equally
responsible for the bloodshed and noted that the new draft
called on both sides to halt the violence.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas)

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