17:42 GMT +319 September 2019
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    France set to establish relations with Syrian opposition

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    France intends to establish relations with the Syrian National Council being formed by the opposition, the French foreign minister said on Monday.

    France intends to establish relations with the Syrian National Council being formed by the opposition, the French foreign minister said on Monday.

    France welcomes the organizing efforts of the opposition, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said upon his arrival at a meeting of top diplomats from the EU member states in Luxembourg.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem recently threatened "tough measures" against any country that recognizes the "illegitimate" Syrian opposition council.

    Opposition leaders announced creation of the Syrian National Council, aimed at toppling Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad, at a meeting in Istanbul two weeks ago.

    France is pushing for new sanctions against Syria after Russia and China vetoed a UN draft resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria if the Assad regime continues to use violence against opposition protesters.

    The unrest in Syria has claimed some 3,000 lives, according to the UN human rights body. The Syrian authorities reject that figure, but say that 700 police and security officers have been killed by members of "terrorist gangs."

     

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