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Russia weakens Arab group GA draft resolution on Syria, vote likely Thursday.

| UNITED NATINS, Feb 15 (KUNA) -- Russia introduced late Tuesday amendments meant to weaken the draft resolution that the Arab group circulated in the General Assembly late last week regarding the Syrian crisis, a diplomat told KUNA, adding that the vote is likely to take place tomorrow Thursday.

Assembly resolutions are not binding and none of the 193-member body has the veto power. It is considered more as a moral support to an issue than anything else.

The Arab draft, similar to the one Russia and China vetoed earlier this month in the Security Council, wants the Assembly to call on Damascus to "immediately" stop the human rights violations against civilians, to condemn the violence by the Syrian authorities and the opposition, and to fully support the Arab League initiatives of last November, January and February to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system.

Russia wants the Assembly to support those decisions "taking into account" the timetable set out by the League "without prejudging the outcome," and not simply "in accordance with" that timetable, as stated in the Arab draft.

By adding "without prejudging the outcome" Russia meant that President Al-Assad does not have to delegate power to his deputy after two months, as the League proposed in its January 22nd decision.

According to the proposed amendments, Russia wants the Assembly to "express support for the broad trend of political transition to democratic, plural political systems in the Middle East" as a whole.

Russia also wants the Assembly to stress that all Member States should not only "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state," as stated in the Arab draft, but also refrain from "interference in internal affairs of independent states." It also wants the Assembly to "call for all sections of the Syrian opposition to dissociate themselves from armed groups engaged in acts of violence" and to urge Member States and "all those in a position to do so to use their influence to prevent continued violence by such groups." The Assembly voted on human rights violations last December. The vote 133 in favour to 11 against. The Arab group, the diplomat said, is willing to incorporate a few more amendments this time with the hope to get even more votes when the draft is put to the vote.

The Syrian crisis will be discussed today in Vienna, Austria, between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

As to the League's proposal to set up a joint UN-AL peacekeeping force and a joint envoy, Ban said on Monday it is for the Security Council to decide. The Council members are currently on a week-long visit to Haiti. A UN spokesman said the UN is still waiting for an official letter from the League detailing the February 4th sproposals. (end) sj.asa KUNA 150915 Feb 12NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Feb 15, 2012
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