Denmark to join Syrian pressure group

Denmark’s foreign minister has confirmed plans to join countries forming a coalition outside of the United Nations in an attempt to put more pressure on Syria.

Villy Søvndal attended a meeting in Tunisia on Friday in which the forming of ‘Syria’s Friends’ was discussed.

“The important thing is to maintain a broad coalition with Arab countries, Turkey, EU countries and others so we maintain collective pressure on Syria,” Søvndal told Ritzau. “I don’t think more weapons are needed in Syria. I think what is needed is to gain control, not least of the government’s use of arms,” he added.

Søvndal’s view is echoed by the government, and the vast majority of opposition parties.

“It is good that someone is concerned about Syria. If it is possible to put pressure on President Assad with non-violent means, that is a good idea,” Foreign Policy Spokesman Christian Juhl told Politiken. “The military must be kept away. We should not support the rebels with weapons, and no countries should go in with soldiers,” Juhl added.

The Liberal Party has also pledged support for the move, with spokeswoman Ellen Thrane Nørby commenting, “For a week now we have been calling for the government to put forward a clear Syria strategy. We don’t think that they have had a clear plan. So it is a good thing if Søvndal is doing something.”

In fact, the only party opposed is the far-right Danish People’s Party. “The Danish People’s Party’s general view is that Denmark should not meddle in other countries’ civil wars,” DPP Foreign Policy Spokesman Søren Espersen said in a Politiken report.

The Syrian government has killed thousands of its own people since the rebel uprising began last year.