France demands 'bolder' action from Syria
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Wednesday demanded "more ambitious and bolder" action from Syria after President Bashar al-Assad decreed a general amnesty for political prisoners.
"I fear that it might already be too late," Juppe told France Culture radio after the Syrian leader announced the amnesty following two months of deadly anti-government protests.
"There have been at least 1,000 deaths, perhaps more. There must be a much clearer change of direction, more ambitious and bolder than a mere amnesty," he said.
The French foreign minister said he regretted that Western governments had been unable to get the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution criticising Syria and blamed the opposition of veto-wielding permanent member Russia for the failure.
He said the European Union and the United States wanted the Security Council to issue a resolution condemning the crackdown in Syria and imposing sanctions against the government.
"Why did we fail? Not because of the weakness of the West, the European Union and the United States, but because of Russia, which for historical reasons has a different view of the regime of Bashar al-Assad."
© 2011 AFP