US urges 'stronger' UN resolution on Syria
The United States wants "stronger" United Nations action on Syria and will push the Security Council for a resolution that has sanctions with "teeth," a State Department official said Monday.
"We believe that it's time for the UN Security Council to take stronger action. We continue to consult in New York. We want a resolution that has sanctions (with) teeth," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, has opposed attempts by Western governments to push through a resolution directly targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has waged a deadly six-month crackdown on protesters.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday it would be a mistake to put more pressure on Damascus, and said any punitive actions must be applied equally to both sides because the opposition was continuing to reject calls to engage Assad in direct talks.
When asked for a response to Medvedev's comments, Nuland said the US "strongly disagreed."
"So we're going to keep working on it," Nuland said.
"We certainly are speaking privately and publicly to all UN Security Council members to look hard at the bloodshed and the violence in Syria and to take the necessary action with us," she added.
The French foreign ministry on Monday said the UN's failure to take a clear position on the bloody repression of demonstrations in Syria was "a scandal."
Russia, together with China, also boycotted a Council meeting on sanctions against Damascus, with Moscow circulating an alternative draft resolution calling on Assad to implement reforms, but not stand down.
© 2011 AFP