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Germany, Britain, France seek UN action against Syria

European nations said today that they have key Arab support for a UN resolution condemning human rights abuses by the Syrian government.

world Updated: Nov 19, 2011 08:41 IST

European nations said on Thursday that they have key Arab support for a UN resolution condemning human rights abuses by the Syrian government.

Diplomats from Germany, France and Britain tabled the resolution at the UN General Assembly's human rights committee on Thursday for a vote expected next Tuesday, officials said.

Success could increase pressure on the UN Security Council to act over the Syria crisis. Russia and China last month vetoed a council resolution condemning the deadly crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's forces which the United Nations says has caused at least 3,500 dead.

The British, French and German UN ambassadors met Arab envoys at the UN headquarters on Wednesday after Arab League leaders gave Assad three days to end his violent repression.

Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia agreed to co-sponsor the resolution and other Arab states are expected to follow, said Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

"The draft resolution tabled today is the result of close consultations with Arab League members as a response to critical events on the ground in Syria," Lyall Grant added, stating that the measure "complements" the efforts of the Arab League.

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

"We appreciate that there is strong support for a resolution by the General Assembly: we hope it will show Assad just how isolated he is," the envoy added.

But Wittig said it was still imperative for the Security Council to condemn Assad. "This is no substitute for council action. We still see a need for the council to live up to its responsibilities and we expect that council members don't easily dismiss the strong voices from the region."

After last month's veto, Britain, France, Germany and the United States said they would seek the right moment to return to the 15-member Security Council.

First Published: Nov 18, 2011 02:05 IST