Europeans spar with Russia, China on Syria at UN

October 14, 2011 22:50

UNITED NATIONS - European members of the UN Security Council clashed with Russia and China on Friday by raising concerns about Syria and the looming specter of civil war during a closed-door meeting, council diplomats said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, several diplomats said the French, British, German and Portuguese envoys supported a statement issued on Friday by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, who called for international protection of civilians in Syria and warned of a possible civil war.

Syrian forces shot dead at least six people protesting against President Bashar Assad on Friday, activists said, 10 days after Russia and China joined forces on a rare "double veto" to kill a European-drafted Security Council resolution that would have condemned Syria and hinted at possible future sanctions.

Friday's European push on Syria elicited an angry response from Russian deputy UN envoy Alexander Pankin, who complained that French Ambassador Gerard Araud was flouting normal procedure by introducing issues "not on the agenda of the meeting," a diplomat present at the meeting told Reuters.

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