New French President Francois Hollande has vowed to put pressure on Russia to support UN Security Council action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We will tell the Russians what we think about pressuring Syria by means of the UN Security Council, and we should persuade Russia to fully back this initiative,” Hollande told journalists after talks with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House on the eve of a G8 summit at Camp David.
“I would not state in advance that Russia will keep protecting a dictator [like Assad] till the end,” he added.
Russia and China have blocked two U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Syrian crisis, saying they were biased against the Assad government.
Hollande said, however, that a peace plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan should be finalized before the Security Council considers further steps to end Syria's 15 months of bloody uprising.
The Security Council passed a resolution in late April approving the deployment of 300 observers to Syria to monitor a fragile ceasefire between government and opposition forces, which has officially been in place since mid-April. Some 260 UN observers have already been working in the country.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday up to 10,000 people have been killed in the uprising, adding that the situation has become “intolerable.”
The Syrian authorities blame terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda for orchestrating the unrest.
Syria will be among the main topics to be discussed at the G8 summit, which also include Northh Korea and Iran.
Hollande said he had discussed with the U.S. leaders preparations for a new round of P5+1 talks on the Iranian nuclear issue due in Baghdad on May 23.
“We want to give the talks a chance,” he said, adding that “actions in case of the talks’ failure were not discussed” during his talks with the U.S. colleagues.
Western powers suspect Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme under the guise of peaceful energy generation. Tehran denies the allegation.
Talks between Iran and six world powers - Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States - on Tehran's controversial nuclear program resumed in Istanbul in April after a 15-month break.