CORRECTED: Time has come to increase sanctions against Syria: France

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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday that the "time has come to increase sanctions" against the Syrian regime.

"The situation is no longer sustainable," and "the ongoing repression is unacceptable," Juppe told reporters during a visit to Ankara.

"It is not normal that the (UN) Security Council has not made any decision so far," said Juppe. "I hope those blocking any resolution will be aware of the reality of the situation," referring to China and Russia.

Juppe, whose country was a major player behind NATO's military intervention in Libya, was in Turkey for talks focused on Syria, ahead of a tour of Arab states.

On Wednesday, France announced it has recalled its ambassador to Syria after its diplomatic missions there were attacked amid ongoing protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Asked about the French attitude toward a Turkish military intervention in Syria, Juppe said: "We are against any unilateral action," adding that such a decision could only be made at the UN Security Council.

The Arab League has proposed sending an observer mission to Syria in an attempt to help stop the eight months of deadly violence, which the United Nations says has cost more than 3,500 lives.

Juppe said: "I don't want to predict but I have doubts that a positive response will come from Syria" to the Arab League's proposal to send an observer mission.

He further noted that Turkey and France had an overlapping approach to the crisis in Syria.

"We have adopted a clear stance" since an anti-government uprising began in March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a joint news conference with Juppe.

"We stand by rightful people's rightful demands and oppose the use of violence," he added.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Assad's regime since March.

Ankara has already announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.

"If the attacks continue, it will be necessary to take a number of measures in particular economic measures to stop the massacre," said Davutoglu.

© 2011 AFP

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