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World Hails Russia’s Surprise UN Syria Move

Published: 18/12/2011 01:34:09 PM GMT
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BEIRUT - The World has hailed a new draft resolution proposed by Russia, one of Damascus's staunchest allies, on the violence in Syria to UN Security C (more)

BEIRUT - The World has hailed a new draft resolution proposed by Russia, one of Damascus's staunchest allies, on the violence in Syria to UN Security Council as boosting hopes of a UN action over the continuing bloodshed in Syria, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Thursday, December 15.

"We are going to study the draft carefully,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

“It will have to be shared with the Arab League, which has taken the lead on the response to what's going on in Syria," she said.

Submitted to the UN on Thursday, the Russian resolution strongly condemns the violence by "all parties, including disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities," according to a copy obtained by AFP.

The draft also raises concern over "the illegal supply of weapons to the armed groups in Syria."

“There are some issues in it that we would not be able to support,” said Clinton, who blames the Syrian regime alone for the violence.

“There's unfortunately a seeming parity between the government and peaceful protesters,” said Clinton, who blames the Syrian regime alone for the violence.

As a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia has tried to head off Security Council intervention in the Syria crisis.

With China, it vetoed a council resolution proposed by European nations in October condemning Assad's crackdown on protests which the UN says has left 5,000 dead.

“We did address the situation in Syria and we started out by noting that there are two things united members of Security Council regarding the situation in Syria,” Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN told reporters.

“First one is our concern regarding the developing crisis and the second is the feeling that the Security Council can't play a useful and constructive role in trying to resolve this crisis.

Though Clinton indicated Washington had differences with Moscow on the draft, the chief US diplomat said it was the "first time" that Russia has recognized the violence in Syria needs to be taken up by the Security Council.

"Hopefully we can work with the Russians, who for the first time at least are recognizing that this is a matter that needs to go to the Security Council," she said.

"It's just that we have differences in how they are approaching it," Clinton said. "We hope to be able to work with them."

European Support

Joining the US, the French envoy to the United Nations welcomed the resolution proposed by Russia on the Syrian crisis, saying it was “an extraordinary event.”

“Russia has decided to move on the resolution project... We think that it is because Russia has felt the pressure of the international community,” France's envoy to the UN, Gerard Araud, told journalists.

We “need to show that the violence has come from the Syrian regime which has shot down thousands of demonstrators... Primary responsible of the violence is the behavior of armed forces and secondly the refusal of Syrian regime to engage in genuine reform.”

Meanwhile, the German ambassador Peter Wittig said that the silent on Syria was unbearable.

“We are discussing the situation in Syria in serious manner.” He described the Syrian situation as “dramatic.”

“We are engaging the resolution by Russia and there is opportunity to bridge gaps, and break silence of the Security Council. We need to embrace what Human Rights council has said and take up what Pillay has told us,” Wittig told reporters.

“It's time for the Security Council to send strong messages to Syria and Syrian authorities.”

“Accountability is what we want to see in this kind of resolution, that's why we have to think of the Security Council mandated independent investigation commission. Accountability is key element of any resolution,” added Wittig.

A leading Syrian human rights activist earlier on Thursday urged the international community to cut diplomatic ties with Damascus and up pressure on Russia to stop blocking UN action against the regime there.

“So far 5,000 people have been killed in Syria, among them are 277 children, 159 women and a lot of people were killed under torture. All this is happening in cold blood and the international community is watching and doing nothing,” Rami Abdurrahman, founder of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on the sidelines of a European Union conference in Warsaw, AFP reported.

“Russia's support, that is the main problem,” he said but stressed Syrians did not want the West to engage in any military action similar to the NATO air strikes which played a key role in toppling the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, he said.

Peaceful protests against Assad, inspired by the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, were met with massive force as soon as they began in March.

The regime's crackdown on dissent has killed more than 5,000 people in Syria, according to UN figures.

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