Europe fails to secure UN condemnation of Syria

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Europe fails to secure UN condemnation of Syria

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The United Nations Security Council has failed to agree on a statement condemning Syria’s crackdown on anti-government protesters.

More than 450 people have died during the six weeks of unrest.

France, Britain, Portugal and Germany — with the backing of the US — wanted a probe into the killings and to call on Syria to show restraint. But opposition from China and Russia prevented an agreement being struck between the 15 Security Council members.

Alexander Pankin, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said: “A real threat to regional security could arise from outside interference in Syria’s domestic situation.”

Pankin warned against “attempts to push ready-made solutions or the taking of sides” that could lead to a “never-ending cycle of violence.”

Germany urged Syrian security forces to allow peaceful protests and stop the bloodshed.

“The demonstrators do not have tanks. They do not arrest people arbitrarily. They do not curtail journalists in their reporting. The continued violence against peaceful protesters is completely unacceptable,” said Peter Wittig, the German ambassador to the United Nations.

The US and the EU say Syria could be hit by sanctions unless the protesters’ demands for reforms are heeded quickly.

Earlier on Thursday, 200 members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party resigned over his regime’s heavy-handed response to the demonstrations.