Germany requests urgent UNSC meeting on Syria

Closed-door consultations requested after human rights groups says attack by Syrian forces on Hama leaves at least 80 people dead.

By REUTERS
August 1, 2011 03:08
2 minute read.
UN security Council

UN security Council 521. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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UNITED NATIONS - Germany has requested that the UN Security Council meet on Monday to discuss the worsening violence in Syria, a spokesman for the German mission at the United Nations said.

The request came after human rights groups said 80 people had been killed in the Syrian city of Hama when government troops stormed in on Sunday to crush protests amid a five-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

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Germany holds the rotating Security Council presidency until midnight on Sunday, then India takes over for the month of August.

German spokesman Alexander Eberl said his mission had asked the Indian mission to schedule closed-door council consultations for Monday and it was likely to take place in the afternoon, New York time.

Italy also reportedly called on Sunday night for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Syria, urging European envoys in Damascus to meet Monday.

"We request that the United Nations Security Council hold an urgent meeting and adopt a very firm position," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was quoted by AFP as saying in an interview to public broadcaster RAI.



Practical council action on Syria has been paralyzed for weeks by disagreements within the 15-nation body.

Western European countries circulated a draft resolution on June 8 that would condemn the Syrian crackdown on protesters, but Russia and China, both allies of Damascus, have threatened to veto it.

Temporary council members Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa have also said they do not support the resolution. They say they fear that even a simple condemnation could be the first step towards Western military intervention in Syria, as happened in Libya in March.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday accused the Alawite elite of waging sectarian warfare on Sunnis by attacking Hama.

"Syria is witnessing a war of sectarian cleansing. The regime has linked its open annihilation with the crescent of Ramadan. It is a war on the identity and beliefs of the Syrian nation ... on Arab Muslim Syria," it said in a statement.

The statement comes after US President Barack Obama said he was appalled by the Syrian government’s use of violence against its people in Hama, and promised to work with others to isolate Assad.

“The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward. In the days ahead, the United States will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people.”

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