Video: Russia calls for changes to UN Syria resolution
Published 02/02/2012 | 05:00
RUSSIA demanded yesterday that the United Nations pledge never to approve foreign intervention in Syria in return for not blocking a resolution calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
The promise is one of five changes Moscow has requested to a draft resolution drawn up by the Arab League which calls on Mr Assad to delegate powers to his deputy, form a unity government and hold free elections.
Britain, the United States and other Western powers have agreed to include a statement that the resolution may not be used to justify military intervention.
A source close to the negotiations said there were problems with the Russians' demand that this clause cover all future resolutions as well.
"We can say we don't want war until we're blue in the face," the source said. "But the fact is that one UN resolution cannot bind future resolutions."
The timetable for putting to the vote what would be the first UN security council resolution on the Syrian crisis has been put back, possibly to next week.
This is regarded as a sign that diplomats believe an accord allowing Russia and China to abstain rather than veto the resolution can be reached.
Meanwhile, the bloodshed in Syria continued, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claiming that 59 people, mostly civilians, were killed in recent days. (© Daily Telegraph, London)