Act on Syria within UN framework: PM

Act on Syria within UN framework: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that whatever action is required in Syria should be within the UN framework, amid growing pressure on US...

  • Asks G20 to wait for UN report on chemical weapons
  • From China to EU to Vatican, military action opposed
  • US, France only nations at G20 summit for Syria action

St Petersburg (PTI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that whatever action is required in Syria should be within the UN framework, amid growing pressure on US President Barack Obama from his Russian counterpart and other world leaders not to attack the Arab country. The Syrian issue dominated a long dinner meeting of G20 leaders including Obama on Thursday night hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the first day's deliberations during which Singh made an intervention.

Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that it was also the Prime Minister's view that the world community should wait for the report of the UN inspectors on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Prime Minister also told his fellow G20 leaders that India condemns the use of chemical weapons whether in Syria or anywhere in the world, Ahluwalia, who was present at the dinner meeting, told reporters here. Singh also told the leaders that one needs to be certain what has happened in Syria even if there is some probability of use of chemical weapons.

Syrian opposition and the West have accused President Bashar Al-Assad's forces of using chemical weapons on August 21 in a Damascus suburb, a charge denied by the government. Ahluwalia said the indication given by the Prime Minister was that one should wait for the report of the UN team of inspectors.

The Prime Minister made it clear that whatever action is required in Syria should be under the auspices of the UN and not outside its framework. According to Ahluwalia, who is the 'Sherpa' for India at the summit, the Prime Minister also said that India was not in favour of armed action aimed at any regime change as this would be violation of international law. The meeting was also told that the UN Security Council should authorize the action if it is necessary.

G20 leaders fail to reach consensus

St Petersburg (PTI): The G20 summit has failed to heal the rift over US plans for military action against the embattled Syrian regime, as world leaders on Friday could not reach a consensus on the deeply divisive issue. Russian President Vladimir Putin met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit and held talks on Syria. Putin later said the meeting did not end their differences on the conflict. "We spoke sitting down... It was a constructive, meaningful, cordial conversation. Each of us kept with our own opinion," Putin told reporters.

Putin's chief foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said that the "contradictions remained" after the talks that lasted for nearly half an hour. The US government accuses President Bashar al-Assad's forces of killing 1,429 people in a poison-gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, a charge denied by the Syrian government.

Russia to help Syria if attacked

St Petersburg (AP): President Vladimir Putin says Russia will continue helping Syria even if it comes under attack. Putin, speaking at Friday's briefing after the Group of 20 summit, answered with a firm "we will" when asked if Russia will keep providing assistance to Syria if it's attacked. He added that Russia has been supplying weapons to Syria and maintaining economic cooperation. Putin said that Russia intends to increase its humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people after more than two years of hostilities. Putin and his officials have previously said that Moscow has no intention of engaging in the conflict.

‘Remove curbs on professional mobility’

St Petersburg (PTI): India on Friday made a strong case for avoiding new measures to restrict international mobility of professionals, arguing it could stifle global growth in the coming years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "International labour mobility in high end skills has become an important aspect of global integration across countries. Pending the evolution of international agreements in this area, we must do whatever we can to avoid new restrictive measures, which can stifle a sector that can contribute to global growth in the years ahead."

Evidence points to a chemical attack: EU
Vilnius (Lithuania) (AFP): Evidence points that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus last month, EU defence ministers have concluded. "There are many signs that the regime used the (chemical) weapons," Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said as EU counterparts met in the Baltic state, which currently holds EU's rotating presidency. He said that his fellow ministers "condemned the use of chemical weapons and believed those responsible must be held accountable" there were "a variety of opinions" on what should be done in response.
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