Russia has rejected calls from the United States and Western Europe for greater sanctions against Syria for its violent crackdown on protesters.
"Tough" but "balanced"
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday there is no need for additional pressure on Syria. He said any United Nations resolution on Syria must be "tough" but "balanced."
Russia has veto power in the U.N. Security Council and can stop the passage of any resolution against the volatile Middle Eastern nation.
Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev indicated Moscow may be willing to consider a U.N. resolution that sends a "strong message" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday during an address to the Human Rights Council that 2,600 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising in the last six months. In August, the United Nations estimated that 2,200 had died since the government began violently cracking down on dissent.
An aide to Assad disputed those U.N. figures Monday, saying that 1,400 have died. Syrian government spokesman Bouthaina Shaaban said the casualties have been evenly split, with 700 government forces and 700 opposition activists killed.
On Friday, European Union diplomats said the group had neared an agreement on sanctions barring new investments in Damascus' energy sector. A week ago, the EU announced economic sanctions that include an oil embargo.
The U.S. has condemned the killing of prominent Syrian human rights activist Ghiyath Mattar, who died last week while in the custody of Syrian security forces. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland denounced what she called the "despicable violence" of the Syrian government, again reiterating the U.S. call for President Assad to step down.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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