Hillary Clinton to attend UN Security Council meeting on Syria: envoy

Hillary Clinton to attend UN Security Council meeting on Syria: envoy

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-level officials will attend a UN Security Council meeting on Syria on Tuesday, the U.S. envoy to the UN said Monday.

"Secretary Clinton will be here on behalf of the United States and I believe other ministers will be in attendance and we look forward to an important discussion in the council followed by continued negotiations," said Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the UN, Xinhua reported.

"We're looking forward to tomorrow's session when we will have the prime minister of Qatar as well as the Arab League (AL) secretary-general briefing the council," Rice said.

Rice told reporters of Clinton's visit as she spoke outside the Security Council chambers.

At the meeting slated on Tuesday, the 15-nation council will discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria and a draft resolution proposed by the Moroccan delegation to the UN on the situation of the troubled Middle Eastern country.

Rice said the U.S. is in favor of the Moroccan resolution. However, Russia voiced its strong opposition to the draft jointly drawn up by Arab states, Britain, France and Germany.

"We certainly strongly support the draft text that Morocco has tabled," she said. "We think that it's vitally important that the Security Council support and embrace the Arab League plan in total and we will certainly be maintaining that position as the council discuses and debates next steps including the text on the table."

According to Rice, the draft resolution proposed by Morocco contains no authorization of the use of force and no mention of sanctions.

"It is primarily a straightforward condemnation of what has transpired, a call upon the government of Syria to adhere to the commitments it made to the Arab League and an endorsement of the Arab League plan which we think is vitally important and the minimum the council should do," she told reporters.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, said on Monday that Moscow will not support the new draft resolution on Syria.

"The current Western draft has not gone too far from the October versos, and, certainly, cannot be supported by us," Gennady Gatilov, deputy foreign minister of Russia told Intefax news agency in Moscow.

In October, Russia, together with China that is also a permanent council member, vetoed the European-drafted resolution on Syria that would have condemned Damascus and threatened it with possible sanctions.

Nabil al-Arabi, secretary general of the AL, arrived at the UN on Sunday to seek Security Council support for a proposal to end the months-long unrest in Syria by asking President Bashar al- Assad to resign.

Al-Arabi and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al- Thani will be present at the Tuesday council meeting on Syria. The UN says at least 5,400 people have been killed in the unrest that began in March. The Syrian government, however, says more than 2,000 army and security personnel have been killed during the violence.

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