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EU diplomat, Brazil back Arab League role on Syria

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(BRASILIA) - EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Brazilian foreign minister Antonio Patriota on Monday underscored their support for the Arab League effort to end violence in Syria.

Referring to Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, Ashton at a meeting in Brasilia said she and Patriota discussed "how much we support him on the Arab League's initiative and the importance of seeing that leadership (being) able to support the people of Syria into a future free of bloodshed."

Patriota said he backed possible initiatives such as a more active role for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and tighter cooperation between the United Nations and the Arab League.

Russia and China on Saturday vetoed a UN resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on protesters. Brazil's foreign ministry said it had backed the resolution.

More than 6,000 people have been killed since the popular uprising in Syria began in March 2011, opposition sources say.

Syrian forces rained rockets and shells on protest hubs on Monday and killed at least 66 civilians, activists said, as Washington closed its Damascus embassy and Britain recalled its ambassador.

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