Security Council Talks Disband Without Agreement on Syria
A Security Council meeting ended Thursday evening with no agreement on a draft resolution intended to pressure Syria to end its months-long crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.
“We had what I would characterize as sometimes difficult but ultimately useful discussions,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters. “We’re still working. This is not done.”
She said the Moroccans, who submitted the original draft, will come back with another version as soon as Thursday night or Friday morning that could be voted on. “In any case, there are some still complicated issues that our capitals will have to deliberate on and provide each of us with instructions on.”
“We’ll see what the reaction of the capitals will be,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said of the fate of the reworked wording of the resolution. “They’re assessing the situation. We’ll see what the outcome is going to be.”
Before the talks, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said Thursday that even a watered-down resolution would pressure the Syrian government.
Meanwhile, at least 70 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday, opposition activists said, with three more deaths reported Thursday.
The draft discussed Thursday had dropped demands from an Arab League plan for Syria to form a unity government and for President Bashar al-Assad to delegate power to his deputy.
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U.N. diplomats said the changes reflected a big concession to Russia, which has been reluctant to sign on to any plan that could be seen as a mandate for regime change in Damascus, as occurred in Libya after it signed a resolution calling for a no-fly zone. Russia, which has said it is concerned about the prospect of a Syrian civil war and does not want al-Assad pushed from power, has made clear it will not accept an arms embargo or economic sanctions.
A call for other nations to follow the Arab League members in adopting measures such as sanctions against Syria had also been dropped from the latest version of the draft resolution.