Turkey plans Syria initiative after UN 'fiasco'

Turkish PM announced plans for new initiative against Assad gov't after Russia, China veto UNSC resolution.

February 7, 2012 12:40
1 minute read.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)


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Turkey is preparing a new initiative with those countries who oppose the Syrian government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, describing China's and Russia's veto of a UN resolution on Syria a "fiasco."

"We are going to start a new initiative with those countries that stand by the people, not the Syrian government. We are preparing this," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, giving no further details on the initiative.

"The process that occurred at the United Nations in relation to Syria is a fiasco for the civilized world," he said.

Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution last week that backed an Arab League plan calling Syrian President Bashar Assad to quit.

The Arab League chief said on Monday that Russia and China had lost diplomatic credit in the Arab world by vetoing a UN resolution on Syria and may have sent a message to Damascus that it had a free hand to crack down on protests.

But Nabil Elaraby said he would continue working with Moscow and Beijing and other UN Security Council members to end the violence that spiked on Monday with the bombardment of the Syrian city of Homs, which activists said killed 95 people.

Elaraby told Reuters the veto had been a "reality check" for Syria's opposition groups, who have so far refused the League's call to engage with Assad's government, showing them that it was not Arabs blocking tougher action on Damascus but rather world powers who were not united.

China, meanwhile, is considering sending an envoy to the Middle East to discuss the crisis in Syria, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, as it sought to assuage popular anger at its veto.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Tuesday his country was committed to being a friend to the Arab world and may send its own envoy there.

Speaking about Russia's decision to send its foreign minister and intelligence chief to Syria, Liu said "We hope that Russia's mediation can be successful."

"China has all along paid close attention to the development of the Syria situation," Liu told a daily news briefing.

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