Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird speaks to reporters during Question Period outs at Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 11, 2012.
Credits: Andre Forget / QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Russia needs to support slapping sanctions on the Syrian
government to end ongoing bloodshed, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in an interview Sunday.
Russia and China - both permanent members of the UN Security Council - have
used their veto power to block sanctions against the Syrian government
despite 15 months of conflict and pressure from Western leaders.
Canada says Russia needs to agree to sanctions immediately to save lives - a
message Baird says he conveyed in a discussion with the country's foreign
minister on Friday.
"We're continually pushing them to do the right thing and to work at the
Security Council and elsewhere," Baird said in an interview on CTV's
As world powerhouses gather in Mexico for the G20 summit, Russian President
Vladimir Putin will be urged by Western leaders to take action.
U.S. officials have said President Barack Obama and Putin will discuss the
conflict at the summit.
On Sunday, opposition activists said at least 11 people were killed and dozens injured in a shelling on the Sunni Muslim districts of Homs. UN monitors also suspended operations in Syria on Saturday due to deteriorating conditions.
The Canadian government says it is still hopeful a diplomatic solution can
be achieved, even though the UN peacekeeping chief has now deemed the conflict to be a civil war.
Western countries have repeatedly denounced the regime of Syrian Pesident Bashar al-Assad but leaders have not signalled interest in a Libya-style military intervention.
NATO forces implemented a non-fly zone over Libya and bombed military
targets linked to leader Moammar Gadhafi until the dictator was killed.
"If we escalate the violence on either side it will just lead to more
killing, so just because it worked in Libya doesn't mean it will work in
Syria," Baird said.
-with files from Reuters