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G20 verdict: Where members stand on military action against Syria

Sep 8, 2013 09:54 IST

#European Union   #G-20 Summit   #ListsEtc   #Russia   #Syria   #United States  

Washington: President Barack Obama had mixed results as he lobbied members of the G20 leading world economies to bolster international support for a military response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Here is where members of the G20 stand on intervention in Syria:

AUSTRALIA

Called, in a joint statement with nine other G20 members plus Spain, for "a strong international response." A senior U.S. official said that statement was an implicit endorsement of use of military power even though it did not say so explicitly.

"The position we adopted was correct," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said, according to the Melbourne Herald Sun.

Reuters

"If the world doesn't respond in a way that's appropriate and proportionate, then other dictators will think they can gas children."

CANADA

Signed the joint statement.

"The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

"We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons."

SAUDI ARABIA

Signed the joint statement.

"It is time for the international community to assume its responsibilities and to take deterrent measures against the Syrian regime," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told Al Jazeera last week.

UNITED STATES

Obama says there is sufficient evidence to conclude Syria President Bashar al-Assad authorized a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 people August 21 and has called for a military retaliation in response. He has put the matter to a vote before the U.S. Congress and is seeking international support before taking any action.

U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice drafted a statement endorsing military action against Syria and officials sought endorsements from other members of the G20.

INDIA

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told fellow G-20 leaders in Russia that India opposes any military action against Syria that is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council, Kyodo news reported, citing Indian media.

"Whatever happens should be under the U.N.'s auspices and not outside the framework," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an aide to Singh, is quoted as saying.

Singh told G20 counterparts there needs to be greater certainty about what happened during an alleged chemical weapons attack August 21 and that it is important to await the results of a United Nations investigation.

RUSSIA

Is a staunch ally of Syria and opposes any military action.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said "anything that is outside the U.N. Security Council is aggression, except self-defense. Now what Congress and the U.S. Senate are doing in essence is legitimizing aggression. This is inadmissible in principle." [nL6N0H02SK]

SOUTH AFRICA

Agreed to coordinate positions on settling the Syria standoff with Russia, according to an Interfax report.

"Any attack on Syria without (U.N. Security Council) authorization would constitute a grave violation of international law that would severely undermine international order," the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement August 29.

TURKEY

Signed the joint statement.

"Almost all the leaders who attended the summit are closely following the massacre the Syrian regime carried out on its people and the leaders have expressed that an operation is extremely necessary against Damascus," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said.

ARGENTINA

Was among countries that opposed military operations in Syria, Putin told reporters, according to Interfax.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry has condemned any military strike against Syria, saying it would only make matters worse.

BRAZIL

Was among countries that opposed military operations in Syria, Putin told reporters, according to Interfax.

MEXICO

Neither signed the joint statement nor was mentioned by Putin as among those opposing military operations.

FRANCE

Signed the joint statement.

French President Francois Hollande has been one of the main international voices calling for military action against Syria over the chemical attack.

"We shall await the report of the inspectors just as we will await (U.S.) Congress," he said in St. Petersburg.

GERMANY

Only European nation at G20 to decline signing joint statement because Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to let European Union officials have a chance to weigh in first, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

Merkel has said that Syrian President Bashar-al Assad's government should not go unpunished over what the United States said was its use of internationally banned chemical weapons on August 21, an attack that killed hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb.

But she has not explicitly come out publicly in favor of military action.

ITALY

Signed the joint statement.

However, Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta said recently that Italy would not join any military operation against Damascus without authorization from the U.N. Security Council.

"If the United Nations doesn't back it, Italy will not participate," he said but added that Italy fully backed international condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The international community has to respond strongly to Assad and his regime and to the horrors which have been committed," he said.

UNITED KINGDOM

Signed the joint statement.

British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vital parliamentary vote last month meant to pave the way for Britain to join a looming military strike against Syria.

However, Cameron also said Obama was right to press ahead with possible military action against Damascus as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had ignored his warnings about using chemical weapons.

CHINA

Has backed Russia in opposing military intervention.

"Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price - it will cause a hike in the oil price," Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a briefing before the start of the G20 leaders' talks.

INDONESIA

Was among countries that opposed military operations in Syria, Putin told reporters, according to Interfax.

JAPAN

Signed the statement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shied away from public statements about Syria.

But Obama said after meeting with him at the G20 that Japan shared the U.S. view that chemical weapons use in Syria was a violation of international law that must be addressed.

SOUTH KOREA

Signed the statement.

EUROPEAN UNION

Did not sign the statement.

"There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters. "Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed."

Van Rompuy said he respected "calls for action" but said the response to the Syrian crisis had to move through the United Nations.

Reuters