Big powers meet at UN on 'weak' US Syria draft

By REUTERS
March 7, 2012 07:02

UNITED NATIONS - The five permanent UN Security Council members and Morocco met behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss a US-drafted resolution urging an end to the Syrian government's crackdown on demonstrators, a text some Western envoys said was too weak.

It remains unclear whether the US draft resolution, which follows two earlier proposed condemnations of Damascus that Russia and China vetoed, has any chance of success in the 15-nation council, which has been deadlocked over Syria's military operations against pro-democracy protesters for almost a year.

The US draft, obtained by Reuters, demands "unhindered humanitarian access" and "condemns the continued widespread, systematic, and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and demands that the Syrian government immediately put an end to such violations."

It also would have the council demand Syria release "all persons detained arbitrarily" and withdraw the military.

UN ambassadors from the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, along with Morocco, the sole Arab state on the 15-nation Security Council, avoided detailed comments when they left a 1-1/2 hour meeting on the draft.


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