Syria to continue crackdown


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The Independent Online

Syria's foreign minister has signaled that his country will continue its 10-month crackdown on dissent.

Walid al-Moallem said it's the duty of the government to take any steps it sees necessary to protect against chaos.

His news conference came one day after President Bashar Assad's regime rejected an Arab-brokered plan to end the country's bloodshed.

The plan calls for a unity government within two months, which would then prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held under Arab and international supervision.

Syria has long held that a foreign conspiracy is behind the uprising.

Al-Moallem said it was clear that some Arab countries have joined the conspiracy.

Britain's foreign secretary is urging the Arab League to press the UN Security Council to condemn Syria's violent crackdown on the country's uprising.

William Hague said the Arab bloc must help to persuade Russia and China to drop their objections to passing a UN resolution on Syria.

The UN estimates about 5,400 people have been killed since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March.

Hague said "it is overdue for the UN Security Council to speak out."

Hague says the Arab League must explain the situation to the UN and press the Security Council for "an appropriate resolution that will assist toward saving lives."

Britain and European allies offered a proposed UN resolution in October, but it was vetoed by Russia and China.