International actors weigh response to Syria’s assault
BRUSSELS / LUXEMBOURG
President Gül (front R), US President Obama (front L), UK PM Cameron (back L) walk during NATO’s Chicago summit. AFP photo
NATO said yesterday it would discuss Turkey’s accusation of Syria shooting down one of its warplanes in international airspace, as international actors as well as Turkey weigh measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Britain, another member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, offered its support for “robust” international action. “The [al-]Assad regime should not make the mistake of believing that it can act with impunity. It will be held to account for its behavior. The U.K. stands ready to pursue robust action at the United Nations Security Council,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. NATO said it would meet tomorrow to discuss the issue following a request by Turkey. “Under Article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened,” a NATO spokeswoman said.
Beside NATO, EU foreign ministers will discuss the heightening crisis in Syria when the council meets in Luxembourg today. “The subject of Syria was already on the agenda for the meeting, so they’ll have a chance to talk about this before the NATO meeting on Tuesday,” Reuters quoted a Spanish government source as saying. U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon raised his “deep concern” about the impact of Syria’s shooting. Ban said he had “deep concern about the downed Turkish military jet and particularly about the potential serious implications of this incident for the region” in telephone talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Syria’s close ally Iran urged Turkey and Syria late June 23 to show restraint. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he hoped the two sides would “settle the issue peacefully to maintain regional stability.” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was “greatly worried” by the incident, urged a thorough investigation and welcomed Turkey’s cool-headed reaction.