Egypt Independent

EU, Arabs seek UN assembly condemnation of Syria



UNITED NATIONS — Britain, France, Germany and several Arab states will call for a UN General Assembly vote soon to condemn Syria for nine months of violence against anti-government protesters, German officials said on Wednesday.

The three European powers will submit a draft resolution on Thursday with the intention of putting it to a vote in the General Assembly's human rights committee next Tuesday, a spokesman for Germany's UN mission said.

He said German, French and British delegations met with some Arab delegations on Wednesday to discuss the text and the outcome of an Arab League meeting on Syria in Rabat.

"There was strong support to go ahead with the draft resolution," he said. "Some Arab delegations even expressed their intention to co-sponsor the resolution."

Several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Morocco and Kuwait were considering co-sponsoring the non-binding resolution on Syria.

Diplomats said the human rights committee, which includes all 193 UN member states, was expected to approve the resolution. It would then go to a formal vote in a General Assembly plenary session.

The Arab League, which normally shies away from decisive action against its members, decided on Wednesday to ask its experts to draft recommendations on economic sanctions against Syria, whose league membership privileges have been suspended.

The draft UN resolution "strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities."

Among the violations are "arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, including children," said the draft obtained by Reuters.

The United Nations says at least 3500 civilians have been killed.

"Massive human rights violations"

The draft demands an immediate end to all rights violations and violence and urges President Bashar al-Assad's government to implement an Arab League road map agreed this month that called for an end to the bloodshed and the deployment of foreign observers.

"The Arab world has sent a very clear message," Germany's UN Ambassador Peter Wittig said. "The massive human rights violations and the suffering of the Syrian people have to stop."

Wittig said diplomats hoped the non-binding human rights resolution "will show Assad just how isolated he is" but it was "no substitute for [Security] Council action."

Last month, Russia and China vetoed a European-crafted Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and hinted at possible sanctions.

Germany, France, Britain and the United States have said they would like to revive efforts in the 15-nation Security Council to impose UN sanctions on Syria and have urged Moscow and Beijing to rethink their position.