Saudi Arabia seeks new UN resolution on Syria

AFP , Wednesday 25 Jul 2012

As reports over threat of chemical weapons used by Bashar Al-Assad surmount in Syria, Saudi Arabia proposes a UN General Assembly resolution to follow up on implementing sanctions on Syria

Saudi Arabia is proposing a UN General Assembly resolution which will highlight a Syrian government threat to use chemical weapons, its UN envoy said Wednesday.

The new Arab initiative follows the failure of a western-attempt to get the UN Security Council to threaten sanctions against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad over the 16-month-old conflict, diplomats said. Russia and China vetoed the council resolution last week.

Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi told a small group of reporters the resolution would be submitted in coming days and he hoped for a vote "probably early next week."

Asked whether the resolution would mention the Syrian government's threat made this week to use its chemical weapons if attacked, al-Mouallimi said "it will reference all of the issues that are of significance in the Syrian situation."

UN diplomats said the resolution could call on the 193 UN member states to follow sanctions that have been ordered against Syria by the Arab League. That would be opposed by Russia and China after their veto last Thursday.

The resolution could also demand humanitarian access to conflict-stricken parts of Syria, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity as talks on the resolution are still private.

The UN General Assembly cannot force legally binding sanctions, like the 15-nation Security Council. But no country can veto any of its resolutions which just need a majority.

A General Assembly resolution passed in February brought the Syria conflict back to the forefront of UN debate after Russia and China blocked two earlier Security Council resolutions.

"The Arab states are frustrated at the lack of international action on Syria, particularly the vetos by Russia and China," said one UN diplomat.

Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states have voiced strong support for Syrian rebels against Assad. The 16-month-old conflict has left more than 19,000 dead, according to Syrian activists.

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