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Creation of Syria buffer zones 'very complicated': French FM

kahs432PARIS: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius admitted on Wednesday that plans to create buffer zones in Syria were "very complicated" and would require the imposition of partial no-fly zones.

Fabius said people displaced by the country's conflict needed to be protected through the creation of buffer zones but that logistical and diplomatic questions were complicating the issue.

"We are thinking about this. It is very complicated. We cannot do it without the agreement of the Turks and other countries," Fabius told France Inter radio.

"But what we want is for things to move forward, to make Bashar (al-Assad) fall as quickly as possible and at the same time find humanitarian solutions," he said.

"A buffer zone is impossible without a no-fly zone," Fabius said. "To ensure the protection (of displaced people), there must be anti-aircraft and air assets," he said, adding that ground forces would also be needed.

But Fabius said there was no question of moving forward with foreign intervention without backing from the UN Security Council, where Russia and China have vetoed action against Assad's regime.

"We continue to believe in international law," he said.

He said the question of buffer zones would be raised at a ministerial meeting of the Security Council in New York on Thursday.

French President Francois Hollande said Monday that discussions were under way with allies on the possibility of implementing the zones.

In a television interview to be broadcast by the pro-regime Al-Dunia channel on Wednesday, Assad scoffed at the idea of buffer zones.

"Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria," he said in advance excerpts of the interview screened by the private channel.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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