The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

September 5, 2013

A look at Syria developments around the world

(Continued)

UNITED STATES:

Obama's advisers were pressing Congress in closed-door meetings for authorization of a military strike on Syria. The president arrived at the G-20 summit to surely face similar questions and skepticism from other world leaders. That includes the event's host, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

EUROPEAN UNION:

The European Union urged U.N. investigators to release information as soon as possible about a chemical weapons attack in Syria so the international community can decide how to respond. EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters in St. Petersburg that the Aug. 21 attack "was a blatant violation of international law and a crime against humanity." He said it is too early for a military response,

AUSTRIA:

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, warned a U.S. strike on Syria's atomic facilities might result in a nuclear catastrophe urged the U.N.'s nuclear agency to present a risk analysis of such a scenario. Gill Tudor, spokeswoman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA is ready to "consider the questions raised" by Lukashevich if it receives a formal request from Moscow. Russia's Interfax news agency said that Moscow plans to raise the issue at next week's 35-nation IAEA board meeting.

GERMANY:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she doubts world leaders can agree on what to do about Syria's civil war despite frenzied diplomatic efforts following a chemical weapons attack. Merkel told reporters at the G-20 summit that because of disagreement over who was responsible for the poison gas attack last month, "I do not believe yet that we will reach a joint position."

VATICAN:

Pope Francis urged world leaders to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria and work instead for dialogue and negotiation to end the conflict. In a letter to Putin, hosting the G-20 summit, the pope lamented that "one-sided interests" had prevailed in Syria. He said those interests have prevented a peaceful solution and allowed the continued "senseless massacre" of innocents.

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