Syria: intervention unthinkable without UN, says Bonino

Exile or incriminate Assad; war could have grave repercussions

26 August, 17:15

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, AUGUST 26 - ''Military intervention in Syria without UN Security Council approval is not feasible,'' Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told Radio Radicale on Monday.

    ''We should try to avoid making an international drama into a global one,'' she added, urging listeners to consider the possible reactions of Russia and Iran. ''Even a limited intervention runs the risk of becoming unlimited. We must think it over a thousand times,'' because ''the repercussions could be dramatic''. With a ''unanimous'' Security Council vote ''we could take other roads, not necessarily military ones'' in Syria, such as ''deferring'' Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ''to the International Criminal Court'' or campaigning for his exile.

    This would ''avoid military intervention'' and further bloodshed, said Bonino.

    A long-time member of the Italian Radical Party, Emma Bonino in the past campaigned for sending late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein into exile as an alternative to war.

    The minister hoped allies ''will share their information'' on Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons, which ''has such far-reaching implications that we hope not to return to dubious positions taken in the past''.

    The July 21 use of chemical weapons is ''largely established'', Bonino said.

    However UN inspectors may only be able to collect ''indirect proof, because nothing is more volatile than gas'' and because a subsequent government air raid that ''caused 700 deaths'' might have tainted the evidence. Whatever country ''says it has certain proof'' of Assad's use of such weapons should share that information in ''the proper setting for sharing and analysis, such as the UN Security Council'', Bonino said in reference to ''peremptory declarations'' made by ''Great Britain, France, some in the US, and Israel''.

    It is no secret, the minister remarked, that the Pentagon is the most reluctant to intervene within the US administration.

    This is for ideological reasons but because of ''the complexity on the ground and in the region that they would be facing'', Bonino said. Bonino will discuss Syria with Premier Enrico Letta and Defense Minister Mario Mauro after a cabinet meeting tonight, she said. (ANSAmed).

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