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Friday, January 27, 2012

Russia not to back any U.N. resolution calling for Syria’s Assad’s resignation

Russia said Friday it would not support any draft U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation, warning that an early vote on a new Western-backed text was doomed to failure.

“We cannot support any U.N. resolution calling for the support of Assad’s resignation,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax, adding that a quick vote on the Western-Arab draft was “destined for failure”.

Earlier in the day, Russia said that a Western-Arab draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria is unacceptable as United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council to speak with one voice.

A senior Russian diplomat was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying that draft resolution did not take Moscow’s position into account.

Gatilov’s remarks were the latest sign that Russia will push hard for changes in the draft, which supports the Arab League’s call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer his powers to his deputy.

The U.N. draft, which was expected to be distributed to the Security Council later on Friday, contains “no fundamental consideration for our position” and is missing “key aspects that are fundamental to us,” Itar-Tass quoted Gatilov as saying.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the U.N. Security Council to speak with one voice on Syria, and called on Damascus to listen to the aspirations of its people.

“I hope that the Security Council will be able to act,” said Ban, referring to a meeting later Friday at the United Nations on the crisis in Syria, where President -Assad’s regime is cracking down on a popular uprising.

The 15-nation Security Council has been unable to agree on a resolution on Syria’s repression of the anti-government protests that erupted last March.

Russia and China used their veto powers as permanent members of the council to block a European resolution in October.

Russia has since proposed its own resolution, but Western countries have said it is unbalanced.

Friday’s meeting will examine a new resolution condemning the crackdown.

Ban, who was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urged the council to act.

“We have to seize this moment, we have to help these people. They have been oppressed for so long.

“Now they have come out, women and young people, they are yearning for these aspirations. That’s why I have been urging leaders to listen very sincerely and carefully to their aspirations,” he added.

“I’m going to continue to do that. I’m encouraging that when it comes to the Syrian situation.”

The Arab League has called on Assad to hand over powers to a deputy so that elections can be held in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 5,400 people have been killed since the protests erupted.

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