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NATO chief rules out intervention in Syria, Iran

(Xinhua)

08:07, February 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said here on Tuesday that the military alliance has no intention to intervene in Syria or Iran.

"It's important for me to stress that NATO has no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria," the NATO secretary-general said at a press conference in Washington.

Stating that NATO is monitoring the situation closely and strongly condemns what is going on in Syria, Rasmussen said: "The only way forward in Syria is to accommodate the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, and introduce freedom and democracy."

Cautioning that the Syrian crisis may have an impact on the region's stability, Rasmussen said: "I do believe that, as far as Syria is concerned, the best way forward would be a regional solution."

He commended the Arab League for its efforts to find a solution. "I do believe countries in the region should engage actively in finding a solution," he added.

Meanwhile, the NATO chief rejected a parallel with Libya, where NATO's air raids helped the opposition topple Muammar Gaddafi and his government.

He said that in Libya, NATO had a "very clear" United Nations mandate and "active support" from a number of countries in the region. "None of these conditions are fulfilled in Syria," he stressed.

The NATO chief also said that the military bloc is not involved in arming anyone in Syria. "NATO has no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria, that also includes arming the opposition," he said.

On the West's stand-off with Iran over its disputed nuclear program, Rasmussen stated clearly: "I don't think a military intervention is the right way forward."

He said NATO as an alliance is not engaged in Iran, but supports the political and diplomatic efforts by its individual allies to find a solution, as well as urges the Iranian leadership to comply with their international obligations to relevant UN resolutions.

"But NATO has no intention whatsoever to intervene," he said.

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