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France says Russia `playing its role` in Syrian transition

20th June 2012 | 1.651 Views
Los Cabos, Mexico (ANTARA News) - France`s President Francois Hollande said Tuesday after the G20 summit that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was "playing his role" in the search for a political transition in Syria.

Moscow has historically been an ally of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, and Putin remains staunchly opposed to outside intervention to enforce regime change, but Hollande said Russia had a part to play in a handover of power.

More than 14,000 Syrians have died since March last year when Assad launched a crackdown on a pro-democracy revolt. Violence has escalated, with some opposition fighters taking up arms, and the country is on the brink of civil war.

Western powers including France have demanded that Assad step down, but Russia vetoed bids to pass tough UN Security Council resolutions against him and insists that any change in the Syrian regime must be through "constitutional" means.

Nevertheless Hollande, speaking after his first G20 summit, said: "Russia is playing its role to permit a transition... those who are massacring their people today cannot play a role in the future of Syria."