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Merkel criticizes Russia, China for failing to work with West on Syria

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized Russia and China for failing to cooperate with the West in efforts to bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria. The two have repeatedly blocked UN resolutions on Syria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a news conference at Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS)

Merkel Bundespressekonferenz Berlin 19.07.2013

Speaking in an interview published in Saturday's edition of a German regional newspaper, Chancellor Merkel said the actions of Moscow and Beijing were hampering efforts by Western powers to resolve the Syrian conflict.

"It is very regrettable that Russia and China have refused for some time to come to a common position on the Syrian conflict. This considerably weakens the role of the United Nations," she told the Augsburger Allgemeine.

The two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have used their veto powers to block three separate resolutions on Syria since the conflict broke out more than two years ago. Now they are expected to block any resolution that the US, Britain and France manage to put before the Council, that would authorize the use of force against the Syrian government, following an alleged chemical weapons attack 10 days ago.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, meanwhile, used an interview - to be published in Sunday's edition of the Welt am Sonntag newspaper - to call on Russia to work with the West.

"Those who look away despite the use of chemical weapons ... encourage their use. That is why we are calling on Russia to send a signal along with the international community," he said.

'Germany cannot participate'

In her interview, the chancellor also noted that while the alleged use of chemical weapons resulting in hundreds of deaths "cannot remain without consequence," Germany's armed forces could not take part in any military action under the current circumstances.

"Germany cannot participate in any military intervention without a mandate from the United Nations, NATO or the EU," Merkel said. "Therefore, there is no question of any participation by the Bundeswehr at the moment."

This stance appears to be in keeping with the sentiment of a majority of Germany. An opinion poll released on Thursday found that 60 percent of those asked said they were opposed to launching military strikes on Syria, while only about 33 percent supported the idea.

Germans are set to go to the polls in a general election on September 22.

pfd/slk (dpa, AFP)