HALIFAX - Le ministre de la Défense, Peter MacKay, a exhorté la Russie à user de son influence pour mettre fin à la guerre civile syrienne.

M. MacKay a déclaré à des journalistes réunis dimanche au Forum sur la sécurité internationale de Halifax que la Russie, l'un des alliés les plus importants de la Syrie, devrait utiliser son poids pour mettre fin au conflit.

Moscou a appuyé la Syrie au Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies en utilisant son droit de veto pour bloquer des résolutions visant à exercer de la pression sur le régime du président Bachar el-Assad.

«Si la Russie veut véritablement être perçue comme un membre productif et démocratique de la communauté internationale, c'est le temps pour elle de faire la bonne chose», a déclaré le ministre.

Peter Mackay a indiqué que le premier ministre canadien Stephen Harper avait récemment rencontré le président russe Vladimir Poutine, mais n'a pas élaboré sur leur discussion.

Samedi, le sénateur américain John McCain avait déclaré lors du Forum qu'il avait «honte» de l'inaction des États-Unis par rapport à la guerre civile syrienne.

M. Mackay a réitéré dimanche que le Canada ne planifiait pas d'intervention militaire en Syrie.

«Je crois qu'il y a encore d'autres avenues diplomatiques que nous pouvons explorer. Je pense qu'une intervention militaire est toujours le dernier recours», a-t-il affirmé, ajoutant que, malgré ce qui se passait en Israël, il ne fallait pas perdre de vue le conflit syrien.

Plus de 36 000 personnes ont été tuées depuis le début de la révolte en Syrie en mars 2011.

La situation au Moyen-Orient a dominé les discussions à la conférence de Halifax ce week-end. Quelque 300 délégués provenant de 50 pays y ont participé.

Depuis quelques jours, la bande de Gaza est bombardée par Israël. Environ 70 personnes sont décédées.

Dimanche, des responsables médicaux palestiniens ont indiqué qu'un missile israélien avait fait s'écrouler une maison de deux étages dans un quartier résidentiel de Gaza, tuant 11 civils, dont des femmes et des enfants.

M. MacKay a réaffirmé dimanche que la Canada appuyait Israël, disant que le pays «avait le droit de se défendre».

«Un pays a le droit d'exister et une partie de cette existence signifie protéger sa population, ce que Israël essaie désespérément de faire», a-t-il dit.

Le Canada et Israël ont récemment signé un protocole d'entente non contraignant sur la défense, les initiatives industrielles et le partage de renseignements.

Voici en images, un diaporama sur Peter MacKay conçu par nos collègues du Huffington Post Canada.

Loading Slideshow...
  • BLACHFORD LAKE, NT - JULY 5: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge eat a lunch of Arctic Char with members of the Canadian Rangers (L) and Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay (C) and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq (R) on July 5, 2011 in Blachford Lake, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the sixth day of their first joint overseas tour. The 12 day visit to North America is taking in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple started off their tour by joining millions of Canadians in taking part in Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Photo by Andy Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

  • IVANO-FRANKIVSK, UKRAINE: Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay (2nd R) and Ukrain's First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko (C) hold hands with unidentified women during a concert at the children camp of Vorohta, near the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, 17 July 2007. MacKay, on a three-day official visit to Ukraine, visited the camp for orphans which is sponsored by the Ukrainian diaspora of Canada with Canadian students working with the children for the summer. AFP PHOTO/ PRESIDENTIAL PRESS-SERVICE POOL / MYSHKO MARKIV (Photo credit should read MYSHKO MARKIV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, speaks with Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay during a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011. NATO's foreign ministers, in a two-day meeting, will review progress in Afghanistan, plans for a missile defense system, and troubles in Kosovo. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

  • VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 11: A member of the British Battle Back athletes (R) looks on while scrimmaging against Peter Mackay, Canadian Minister for National Defence, and teammate on the military personnel from the Wounded Warrior and Soldier On programmes during a Sledge Ice Hockey scrimmage before the start of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games at GM Place on March 11, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/British Paralympic Association via Getty Images)

  • VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 11: Canadian Minister for National Defence Peter Mackay is presented with a Canadian Paralympic Sledge Ice Hockey Jersey to participate in the scrimmage between the British Battle Back athletes and the military personnel from the Wounded Warrior and Soldier On programmes before the start of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games at GM Place on March 11, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/British Paralympic Association via Getty Images)

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canadian Defence minister Peter Gordon MacKay arrive to attend the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting on the last day of the NATO summit at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest on April 4, 2008. The decision of NATO leaders to refuse Georgia's and Ukraine's bid for membership shows that the military alliance listened to Moscow's views, Russia's ambassador to NATO said on April 4. AFP PHOTO ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CP

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 21: Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shake hands at a news conference after a bilateral meeting and working lunch at the State Department December 21, 2006 in Washington, DC. Both officials said they discussed the case of Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar, who has been cleared by a Canadian judiciary inquiry of being a terrorist but continues to be on the American watch list. In 2002 the U.S. handed Arar over to Syria, where he was tortured repeatedly until he was released in 2003. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) and Defence Minister Peter MacKay (L) arrive at the Parliament in Bucharest on April 3, 2008 to attend a formal working session on the second day of the Nato Summit. NATO leaders begin negotiations in earnest over Afghanistan on April 3, 2008 after the opening day of their summit in Bucharest saw a successful French offer of more troops, but a public disagreement over the alliance's enlargement. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Washington, UNITED STATES: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (C), Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay (R) and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano (L) 06 July 2007 make their way to pose for a photo during meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, left, speaks with Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay during a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. NATO defense ministers will discuss possible changes to the alliance's strategy in Afghanistan after the U.S. and France called for speeding up the handover of combat roles to local forces. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

  • JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 10: (ISRAEL OUT) In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Canadian Defence Minister Peter McKay during a meeting on January 10, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by GPO via Getty Images)

  • RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JANUARY 12: In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greets Canadian Defence Minister Peter McKay, on January 12, 2010 in Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo by Thaer Ganaim/PPO via Getty Images)

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council as European foreign ministers gather amid concerns that Russia plans countermeasures to NATO's own ballistic missile defense system, in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011. From left are British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Canada's Defense Minister Peter MacKay. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened last month to deploy missiles to Kaliningrad and other areas of Russia to be aimed at U.S. and NATO missile defense sites in Europe, unless a deal is reached assuaging Russian concerns. Russia is not a member of NATO. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

  • ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 28: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L) and Canadian Minister of National Defense Peter MacKay (R) arrive at a joint news conference at the Pentagon September 28, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. MacKay is on a visit to Washington and had a meeting with Panetta earlier. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 28: Canadian Minister of National Defense Peter MacKay speaks as he participates during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Pentagon September 28, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. MacKay is on a visit to Washington and had a meeting with Panetta earlier. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)