Brussels: The European Union says protecting civilians caught up in Syria's crackdown on anti-government protests "is an increasingly urgent and important aspect" of responding to the bloodshed there.
But it stopped short Thursday of endorsing French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's call for EU-backed humanitarian corridors to allow humanitarian groups a way in.
Maja Kocijancic, an EU spokeswoman, said the bloc stands ready to engage with representatives of the Syrian opposition "who adhere to nonviolence and democratic values."
After a meeting Tuesday with the leader of the opposition Syrian National Council, Juppe said France would propose that the EU help launch humanitarian corridors or zones to provide ways for organizations like the Red Cross a way in.
First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 17:02