Revised U.N. Draft Removes Delegation of Power
U.N. Security Council may vote as early as Friday as intense negotiations take place at the U.N. Headquarters in New York. The U.S. and its Arab and European allies have reportedly made concessions concerning the text of the draft in exchange for a commitment from Russia to allow the adoption of the resolution. Western leaders discussed President Bashar Al-Assad‘s exile from Syria in hopes of ending the bloody conflict. Reportedly, as many as three countries offered to provide him sanctuary.
The new draft was released Wednesday evening that “fully supports” the Arab League’s decision to “facilitate a political transition,” yet removed language from the Arab League initiative concerning “the formation of a unity government” and “delegation by the President of Syria of his full authority to his Deputy.” The draft additionally dropped a demand to impose U.N. sanctions and a voluntary arms embargo on Damascus. The text “condemns the continued widespread and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities” and demands that Syria “immediately cease attacks against protesters.” The use of violence by opposition forces is also condemned.
The Security Council members, including Russia, called the negotiations “constructive.” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin went further saying, “I think we have a much better understanding of what we need to do to reach consensus.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told council members that they “have to make a decision. whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the Syrian people…or are you on the side of a brutal dictatorial regime?” The new draft resolution clearly stated its intention “to resolve the political crisis in Syria peacefully without foreign military intervention.” It also added that if Syria were to fail to comply, the Security Council would consider “further measures” under the consul of the Arab League.
On the 30th anniversary of former President Hafez Al-Assad‘s assault on Hama, in defiance of tightened security, the walls of Hama read, “Hafez died, and Hama didn’t. Bashar will die, and Hama won’t.” From London, Zuhair Salem, spokesman for Syria’s banned branch of the Brotherhood said, “Today, all of Syria is Hama.”