EU, Arabs want a UN vote on Syria crackdown


European and Arab nations want a UN Security Council vote next week on a resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown on protests and hinting at sanctions, diplomats said Tuesday.

Britain, France, Germany and Arab nations are working on the resolution which could face Russian opposition because of a call on all states to follow Arab League sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia and China vetoed a previous European attempt in October to get a resolution passed condemning Assad for the violence in which the UN says more than 5,400 people have been killed.

The western allies hope to build on growing Arab League demands for UN action on the Syria crisis, however. The United Nations has received a letter from Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi seeking a meeting with UN leader Ban Ki-moon, a UN spokesman said.

Diplomats from several Security Council and Arab nations said there could a vote as early as Monday or Tuesday next week on a resolution. “I would not exclude it,” said one western diplomat. “It is what we are aiming for,” an envoy from an Arab nation told AFP.

A first draft of the new resolution, obtained by AFP, notes Arab League sanctions ordered against Syria and “encourages all states to adopt similar steps and fully to cooperate with the League of Arab States in the implementation of its measures.”

Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, has spoken out strongly against sanctions and could oppose such a measure.

A Western diplomat stressed that there would be talks with the Russians and indicated there could be changes to the resolution. “There is a need for a united Security Council voice on Syria,” the diplomat told AFP.

Channel News Asia