Germany urges unified answer on Syria

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Tuesday urged UN Security Council members to find a "unified answer" to the crackdown in Syria, warning inaction would weaken the UN's authority.

"We need to find a united, unified common answer to this repression in Syria which we cannot accept," Westerwelle said in The Hague after a working lunch with his Dutch counterpart Uri Rosenthal.

He said if member states could not speak in one voice, "it will weaken... the authority of the United Nations and the international community."

"At the moment we are in crucial discussions, we really ask our partners and we call on our partners to accept a common resolution within the UN Security Council," Westerwelle told journalists at a press conference.

Russia on Tuesday called a draft Security Council resolution condemning Syria's crackdown "unacceptable" despite last-minute changes that removed a direct reference to sanctions.

European nations were expected to seek a vote later Tuesday on a resolution imposing "targeted measures" against President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the repression that has killed 2,700 according to UN estimates.

Russia had initially proposed its own resolution that simply called for more dialogue and then began pressing Western powers to water down the language in their draft.

The current proposal would lead to measures against Assad if he failed to comply within 30 days with instructions to end violence and impose reforms.

Westerwelle's call comes a day after Washington stepped up sanctions against Damascus, and Britain, France, Germany and Portugal dropped the word "sanctions" from their draft text in a bid to win over council opponents.

© 2011 AFP

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