April 10, 2017 / 2:19 PM / 4 months ago

Canada PM open to tougher Russia sanctions amid Syria crisis

(Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday he would consider imposing stiffer sanctions on Russia amid the Syrian crisis, adding that Syria's future cannot include President Bashar al-Assad.

Trudeau said international allies must move towards achieving peace and stability in Syria without Assad, and he also hardened Canada's position against Russia, which backs Assad. He was speaking days after U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for what the United States said was a chemical weapons attack by Assad's forces.

"I think Russia needs to be aware, made aware of its responsibility in the bloody actions last week by the Assad regime and therefore we are always open to working with our friends, allies and partners allies to send clear messages through sanctions and other means to Russia," Trudeau said.

Speaking to reporters at a military commemoration ceremony in France, Trudeau said Canada already has stiff sanctions against Russia and "we are always ready to strengthen those sanctions in concert with the international community."

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) nations are meeting in Italy on Monday, eager to hear whether Washington is now committed to overthrowing Assad. They also want the United States to put pressure on Moscow to distance itself from Assad.

Trudeau said last week that Canada fully supported the U.S. missile strikes on April 7.

He told reporters in France that "there is no question the medium and long term future of a peaceful Syria no longer includes Bashar al-Assad," adding that there was no pure military solution to the crisis, but that a diplomatic effort must be part of the international strategy.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; Editing by Frances Kerry

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