France says clear Assad will not implement peace plan

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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday it was clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not going to implement an Arab peace plan and there was "nothing more to expect" from his regime.

"I personally think there is nothing more to expect from this regime and that despite its occasional announcements it will not commit to a programme of reforms," Juppe told Europe 1 radio.

"Different initiatives have been taken to try to bring Bashar al-Assad to dialogue. You can see what happened to the last one: Bashar al-Assad accepts the Arab League peace plan and the next day he massacres dozens more people in the streets," he said.

Assad agreed last week to an Arab League peace plan aimed ending a brutal crackdown on opposition protests that the United Nations says has cost more than 3,000 lives since mid-March.

The roadmap called on Assad to withdraw security forces from protest hubs and engage in a national dialogue with his opponents, but more than 50 people have been killed since it was announced.

"I regret very much what is happening and it is not does reflect well on the United Nations," Juppe said.

A UN Security Council resolution that had raised the prospect of potential measures against Damascus including sanctions was vetoed last month by Russia and China.

"There was a failure by the Security Council," Juppe said, adding that France would continue to try to work within the UN to take action against Syria.

"France will never engage in a military operation if there is no United Nations mandate, and it is obvious now that there will not be a United Nations mandate," he said.

"We are talking with the opposition, we are trying to help them get organised," he said.

Security forces killed four civilians as anti-regime demonstrations were staged across Syria on Sunday, the first day of the Muslim feast marking the end of the hajj, a human rights group said.

© 2011 AFP

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