Revised Syria draft resolution weakens West's demands
A revised draft resolution on Syria submitted Thursday to the UN Security Council appeared to have watered down major demands made previously by European members and the Arab League, including a national unity government in Damascus, DPA reported.
The previous draft supported by the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Portugal - based mostly on the Arab League's plan of action - called for Syrian President Bashir al-Assad to step aside and fully cooperate with a transitional government.
Those demands, and the holding of a transparent and free election, were stricken from the revised text submitted by Morocco to the 15-nation council on the second day of negotiations in New York to hammer out a text acceptable to all 15 council members.
The revised text removed any mention of weapons sales to Syria, and of sanctions against Syria called for by the Arab League. It changed the Western demand for implementation of the resolution by Damascus within 15 to 21 days.
The council president for February, Togolese UN Ambassador Kodjo Menan, told reporters that the council cannot impose an internal solution in Syria. But he said negotiations should be able to work out a consensus text, which would allow council members to swiftly adopt in coming days, though no deadline was imposed.
Menan said a major problem during negotiations remained the transfer of power in Damascus. Russia, China and possibly other council members are opposed to the foreign imposition of a regime change in Damascus.
"The feeling in the Security Council is that the council needs to send a strong signal to all parties to stop the violence," Menan said. "Essentially, the council will focus on the need for the parties to end the violence."
The Arab League met with the 15-nation council on Tuesday in New York and requested adoption of a resolution that would support its plan of action to end the 11-month uprising, in which more than 5,400 people have died according to UN estimates.
The revised text maintained strong condemnation of the "continued widespread gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities." It cited use of military force against civilians, arbitrary executions and killings and persecution of protesters and media members.
It called for "an inclusive Syrian-led political process conducted in an environment free from violence, fear, intimidation and extremism, and aimed at effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people."