UN council grapples with statement on Syria peace bid

By REUTERS
March 21, 2012 01:01

 
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UNITED NATIONS - The sharply divided UN Security Council struggled on Tuesday to reach agreement on a statement of support for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's mission to end violence in Syria that has brought the country to the brink of civil war.

The 15-nation panel held two rounds of negotiations on Tuesday on a Western-drafted statement, obtained by Reuters, that would express "full support" for Annan's peace efforts while threatening Damascus with "further measures" if it fails to comply the council's demands within seven days.

The Western push for a "presidential statement" from the council backing Annan's mission comes after Russia and China twice vetoed resolutions condemning Syria's yearlong assault on demonstrators opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad that the United Nations says has killed over 8,000 civilians.

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