Europe seeks UN condemnation of Syria violence

25th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal are seeking a UN Security Council condemnation of the killing of hundreds of demonstrators in Syria and a call for an independent investigation, diplomats said Monday.

After new violence in Syria, the four European nations on the 15-member council distributed a draft statement to other countries on Monday and hope it could be quickly agreed upon, a council diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"The statement condemns the violence and calls for restraint," the diplomat told AFP.

It backs a call made by UN leader Ban Ki-moon at the weekend for a "transparent" independent investigation into the killings of hundreds of demonstrators in Syria in recent weeks.

Ban said President Bashar al-Assad's government must "respect international human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as the freedom of the press."

The European statement also notes a move by Assad to end a five-decade-old state of emergency and highlight's Syria's importance to stability in the Middle East, the envoy added.

A diplomat from a second council nation confirmed that the draft statement was being considered. The statement's success will depend on the attitude of Russia and China, which traditionally resist initiatives that they see as interfering in a country's internal affairs.

© 2011 AFP

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