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France urges Syria resolution move

French foreign minister Alain Juppe has increased pressure on Russia to support a UN Security Council resolution against the Syrian regime, describing the lack of such a clear statement of condemnation as a "scandal".

Mr Juppe said during a visit to the Australian capital Canberra that Russia and France remained divided over Syria following talks between French and Russian foreign and defence ministers in Moscow last week.

Veto-wielding Russia wants Syrian President Bashar Assad's government to halt its violence against protesters and to expedite reforms.

"We think the regime has lost its legitimacy, that it's too late to implement a program of reform," Mr Juppe told reporters between meetings with Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and foreign minister Kevin Rudd.

"Now we should adopt in New York the resolution condemning the violence and supporting the dialogue with the opposition," he said.

"It's a scandal not to have a clearer position of the UN on such a terrible crisis," he added.

The United Nations estimates that 2,200 people have been killed in Syria's ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted in mid-March.

Mr Juppe said while Russia still proposed using its veto in the UN Security Council to stop a resolution of condemnation, France would continue pursuing it with Britain and other countries.

European nations and the US circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution on August 24 seeking an arms embargo and other sanctions aimed at stopping the Syrian government's crackdown on opposition protesters.


From Belfast Telegraph