Germany heads up UN Security Council

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Germany took over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council on Friday for a month, a "period full of events," according to Berlin's UN Ambassador Peter Wittig.

"There is a broad range of crises and conflicts underway in the world that will require our diplomatic talents. I'm sure Germany can help ensure the Security Council will provide global security," Wittig told AFP.

Germany, which abstained from a Council vote on authorizing NATO military operations in Libya, wants to play a post-conflict role.

"We want to prevent a void in Libya, but it is it much too early to speak of specific missions or work distribution," Wittig said.

As for a possible resolution condemning the government's violent repression of the opposition in Syria, the ambassador confirmed there was not enough support for such a measure at the Council.

Germany, France, Britain and Portugal are working to convince the skeptics. The prospect of passing a resolution "has not been abandoned, but much will depend on how the situation evolves on the ground," said Wittig.

Russia and China have threatened they will use their veto power to block any measure targeting Syria, while several other Council members, including Brazil and South Africa, have reservations.

Wittig noted that a Palestinian demand for the UN to recognize their statehood could come through during the German presidency.

But "I don't think it's very likely, because the Palestinians know the Americans will use their veto," he added. "It would be a 'catch-22'."

Germany, which is replacing Gabon at the head of the Council, is planning to press for adoption of a resolution to protect children in armed conflicts that foresees sanctions for attacks on schools and hospitals, according to the envoy.

© 2011 AFP

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