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Greffier du Conseil prive et Secrétaire du Cabinet
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WkmDUM FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

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SEP 3 2013
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UPDATE ON SYRIA (Information Only’) SUMMARY • • The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime will be a significant topic for discussion in Saint Petersburg. Canada has strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons and has stated publicly that it shares the view that the Syrian regime is responsible for these atrocities. Canada also supports the view that the Syrian regime be held accountable for its actions. Both the United States (US) and France are prepared to participate in military action against Syrian regime targets, but the US will seek authorization from Congress. This followed the defeat in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament of a motion calling for military action, effectively ending UK potential involvement in Syria at this time.
NATO Secretary General issued a statement August 28 condemning the attacks, and later (September 1) made further comments he, personaUy, is confident that the Assad regime is responsible.

Russia and Iran have dismissed the US case for action. They, along with China, have criticized any suggestion of military intervention, and are calling for time to allow the UN inspectors to complete their work. Iran has warned the US not to cross the “red line” on Syria, saying it would have “severe consequences”.

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SYRIA Issue • The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime will be a significant topic for discussion with other G20 leaders in Saint Petersburg.

Canadian Position • • Canada supports efforts to bring about a transition to a stable, democratic and pluralistic Syria that co-exists peacefully with all of its neighbours. Canada has strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons and has stated publicly that it shares the view that the Syrian regime is responsible for these atrocities.

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Positions of the United Kingdom, the United States and France

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On August 29 a motion calling for military action was defeated in the UK Parliament, effectively ending UK potential involvement in Syria at this I trrie I I T
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On August 31, President Obama determined that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. SUch action would not, he said, be an open ended intervention, nor would it involve boots on the

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ground. It would be limited in time and scope, and would aim to deter the regime from future chemical weapons use arid degrade their capacities to engage in these activities. Having made this determination, the President also announced that he would seek authorisation to use such force from Congress. This debate and vote will take place when Congress reconvenes on September 9. France has said that an appropriate response must be found, stating that the objective of an attack, if decided upon, would be to punish and dissuade. The UK had made similar statements, arguing that an absence of response with be akin to permission for future largescale chemical weapons attacks. In advance of a French parliamentary debate on September 4, French intelligence released a report stating that a “massive use of chemical agents” by the Syrian regime occurred August 21. Positions of Other Allies • Turkey and Denmark have already expressed their willingness to join any international coalition if the Security Council reaches an impasse in addressing the situation in Syria. Germany has been supportive politically of clear consequences, but has indicated it will not participate militarily. Chancellor Merkel admitted that a unified international response is unlikely, but even “the smallest chance” of one must be pursued. NATO countries could not reach a consensus that the Assad Regime was responsible for the attacks on August 28, but the NATO Secretary General made a statement condemning the attacks. The statement noted NATO’s support of the UN inspection team, and pledged the Alliance’s ongoing assistance to Turkey in protecting its Southern border. On September 1, NATO Secretary General made further comments stating his confidence that the Assad regime is responsible. He added that in his personal view “we need a firm international response in order to avoid that chemical attacks take place in the future.”

Positions of Russia, China and Iran While Russia and Iran have acknowledged that a chemical weapons attack took place, they do not accept that the Syrian government was involved, and believe that the international community has rushed to judgement. Both have criticized any suggestion of military intervention, and are calling for time to allow the UN inspectors to complete their work. Iran has warned the US not to cross the “red line” on Syria, saying it would have “severe consequences”.

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China has said that no side should rush to pre-judge the results of an investigation by U.N. chemical weapons experts in Syria, and noted it is seriously concerned about any unilateral military action against Syria.

Positions of other States in the Region • The Arab League has blamed the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for the August 21 attack, but is asking the UN and the international community to take “deterrent” measures under international law. Secretary General Nabil Elaraby further stated that a military solution is not possible. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that his country would respond “fiercely” if attacked in response to allied action in Syria and that Israelis prepared for every scenario.

Process within the United Nations
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Background

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i Lo Clerk 01 the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Ottawa Canada
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TELEPHONE CALLS WITH MINISTERS, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON, AND US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA REGARDING THE SITUATION IN SYRIA (For Telephone Calls) SUMMARY • Telephone calls have been set up with:
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Ministers Baird, Nicholson, Mackay and Blaney at 4:00 p.m. on August 26; United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at 6:15 p.m. on August 26; and President Obama at 11:10 a.m. on August 27.
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Wayne G. Wouters Attachments Lemermeyer/Han nafordlHogan/va

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