Hague plea to UN over Syria unrest

 

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the United Nations to support moves led by the Arab League to bring a peaceful resolution to unrest in Syria.

Mr Hague made an impassioned plea at the UN Security Council in New York for action amid fears that Russia may block a draft resolution calling on the country's authoritarian leader Bashar Assad to step down and pave the way for a transfer of power.

Mr Hague said: “While we meet, the gravest of crimes are being committed in Syria. Responsibility for those crimes lies overwhelmingly at the door of the Syrian authorities ... We should unite behind the Arab League plan, and that is what I urge all members of the council to do, this week.”

There was no doubt that the violence was worsening, he said.

“Six thousand Syrians have died, in appalling circumstances, and this includes 384 children. Between 30 and 100 people currently die every single day from the violence in Syria, they will be dying as we speak, thousands more are enduring torture, imprisonment and sexual violence, including the rape of children.”

The risk of civil war was intensifying, and the threat to the stability of the region was growing.

“With each day that passes, finding a way back from the brink will be harder and innocent lives will be needlessly and wrongfully lost, deaths which this council could help to avert by acting in a united manner.”

The security council should remain seized of the situation in Syria, he said.

“To fail to do so would be to undermine the credibility of this institution, betray the Syrian people, snub the Arab League, and fail in this council's responsibilities.”

Western powers including Britain and France are pushing for the adoption of a resolution tabled by current security council member Morocco, which would give international backing to an Arab League timetable for the transition of power in Syria to a unity government, followed by free elections.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton stressed to the council that UN action in Syria would not involve military intervention, unlike the Nato-led efforts in Libya.

Russia has been resisting a swift vote, saying it wanted to “study the recommendations and conclusions of the observer mission in detail” before moving to a substantive discussion in the council.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Moscow would “never allow the security council to authorise anything similar to what happened in Libya”.

However, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin indicated in his address to the council that agreement could still be reached with more negotiation.

Mr Hague later told reporters that discussions would be held “with Russia and other nations” over the next 24 hours in a bid to “make progress on this resolution”.

Deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov last week signalled that Moscow may wield its veto to block the draft resolution in its current form. In October, Russia and China blocked a Western-backed draft resolution condemning Assad's government for its crackdown on protesters.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral