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U.S. Proposes New Resolution on Syria

New resolution has Security Council demands an end to violence in Syria, both by government and opposition fighters.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/7/2012, 5:12 AM

Damaged houses in Baba Amr, Homs
Damaged houses in Baba Amr, Homs
Handout photo / Reuters

The United States proposed a new UN Security Council resolution Tuesday, demanding an end to the violence in Syria, first by government forces and then by opposition fighters.

The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, was discussed behind closed doors by the five permanent council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and Morocco, the Arab representative on the council.

AP reported that the new draft tries to take a more balanced approach in an effort to get Russia and China, who have vetoed two previous resolutions on Syria, on board.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov defended his country’s position on Syria on Tuesday, telling reporters in Moscow that the Council should “seek compromise, stimulate negotiations and a political process.”

Morocco’s UN envoy, Mohammed Loulichki, called the atmosphere at the meeting “promising,” but added that no date has been set for another meeting on the draft.

The U.S. draft, according to AP, demands that the Syrian government comply with the Arab League plan of action adopted November 2 and immediately cease all violence, release all detainees, and return all Syrian military and armed forces to their original barracks.

Immediately after these measures are implemented, the draft resolution calls on “the armed elements of the Syrian opposition to refrain from all violence.”

The U.S. draft condemns human rights violations by the Syrian government, without a similar condemnation of opposition attacks.

It also mentions past Arab League decisions, which include demands that Assad hand over power to his vice president.

The discussion on the draft came as former UN chief Kofi Annan and other world envoys prepared to launch a diplomatic drive in Damascus.

Annan, who has been named special envoy for the United Nations and Arab League, is due in Damascus on Saturday. He will be accompanied by his deputy, former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Nasser Al Qudwa.

Israel on Sunday formally offered to send humanitarian relief to Syrian civilians harmed in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown via the ICRC.

“The state of the Jewish people cannot sit idly by while in a neighboring state atrocities are taking place and people are losing everything,” said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

“Even if Israel cannot intervene in what is being done in a state with which we have no diplomatic ties, we have a moral obligation to at least give humanitarian aid, and to stir the world to act to end the slaughter,” Lieberman declared.