Germany - no talk of military action in Syria
Germany sees no grounds to speculate on military options in Syria a foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday, a day after France's president said he would not rule out the use of force.
"From the federal government's point of view, there is no reason to speculate over military options regarding the situation in Syria," spokesman Martin Schäfer told a regular government news conference.
Germany, Britain, France, the United States and other Western nations have expelled Syrian diplomats in the wake of a massacre at the weekend in which 108 people, mainly women and children, were killed in the area of Houla, in central Syria.
Schäfer said Germany would not rule out further sanctions on the regime in Damascus as the international community seeks to increase the pressure to end the bloody unrest that erupted in March last year.
Angela Merkel's spokesman told the same briefing that the issue of Syria would "very likely" be a topic of discussion between the chancellor and Russian President Vladimir Putin when the latter visits Berlin on Friday.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will also be hosting talks with his new French counterpart, Laurent Fabuis, next Monday centred on the crisis in Syria and the situation in Iran and Afghanistan.
They are set to have a working lunch followed by a joint news conference in the mid-afternoon.
The talks will be dominated by the bloodshed in Syria, after French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday the use of armed force might be possible in Syria following the Houla massacre, but only under UN auspices.
The ministers will also discuss Afghanistan after Paris announced it would pull France's 3,500 troops out by the end of 2012, a year ahead of the previous schedule and two years before the official NATO withdrawal date.