World News Brief, Tuesday June 5

EU to urge Russia to put more pressure on Syrian government to cease violent crackdown on opposition; US calls for China to release all prisoners still held in relation to 1989 Tienanmen Square pro-democracy uprisings; US and Vietnam exchange soldiers' letters and diaries from Vietnam War; US drone kills 15 in Pakistan; Portuguese government to prop up three ailing banks; and more

Top of the Agenda: EU to Push Russia over Syria

European Union officials are expected to use an EU-Russia summit in St. Petersburg (DeutscheWelle) today to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to put more pressure on the Syrian government to implement a UN-Arab League peace plan and cease a violent crackdown on opposition forces. Russia has so far been reluctant to abandon the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has resisted imposing sanctions that could lead to international intervention in the country. However, in the wake of a massacre ten days ago that left more than a hundred people dead in the city of Houla, the West has renewed calls for a Syrian political transition that would see Assad's ouster.


"Many in Washington are frustrated, and are urging the United States do, well, something. But a key question lingers for Americans: Do they actually want to use their own military might to stop the killing in Syria? The answer is probably no, at least for now," writes Scott Clement for

"Iran, Russia and China may be helping keep Assad in power, but so are whole communities of Syrians who see their own fates tied up with that of the regime. That's why after 15 months of open rebellion and sanctions, the regime remains cohesive, its core security units intact and committed to the bloody suppression of the rebellion," writes TIME's Tony Karon.

"But Russia's backing of Assad is about more than commerce and old alliances. For Moscow, a vital principle is at stake: to oppose the doctrine of international intervention in internal conflicts--whether in the Middle East or in Russia's own backyard," writes Newsweek's Owen Matthews.



US Calls on China to Free Tiananmen Protesters

The United States yesterday called on China to release all prisoners still being held in connection with the June 4, 1989 pro-democracy uprisings in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (VOA), which led to a violent crackdown by the Chinese government.

VIETNAM: Senior US and Vietnamese defense officials exchanged letters and diaries of soldiers (WSJ) from both sides that were killed during the Vietnam War, during a bilateral meeting in Hanoi today.



US drone kills 15 in Pakistan

Portuguese government to prop up three banks



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