U.N. Council urged to act on Syria as Assad
01 February 2012, 13:54
Arab and Western states urged the U.N. Security Council to act swiftly
on a resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step
aside as his forces reasserted control of Damascus suburbs on Tuesday
after beating back rebels at the gates of the capital.
The comments appeared designed to confront Russia over its
reluctance to support the resolution and condemn Assad's government for
its violent suppression of the protests. Moscow's U.N. envoy, however,
said consensus was necessary and possible.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby asked the council for
"rapid and decisive action" on a resolution to endorse the league's
demand that Assad delegate powers to his deputy and defuse the 10-month
uprising against his family's dynastic rule.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim warned the 15-nation body that Syria's "killing machine is still at work."
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari hit back, telling the
council Arab League leaders had put a negative spin on a report by the
League's monitors in Syria.
He sparred verbally with Sheikh Hamad, whose country has harshly
criticized Syria and last year backed Western action in Libya that
helped rebels take power. "Is Qatar a member of NATO or the Arab
League?" Ja'afari asked with heavy sarcasm.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly backed the Arab
League call for rapid Security Council action and warned that the
violence was pushing Syria to the brink of civil war.
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