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France planning another U.N. resolution

Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:25 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- France, encouraged by a General Assembly vote against the Syrian government, may bring another resolution in the U.N. Security Council, its top diplomat said.

Speaking to the France Info radio station, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said, "We are currently renegotiating a resolution at the U.N Security Council to see if we can persuade the Russians," CNN reported.

His comments came after the U.N. General Assembly, by an overwhelming 132-12 vote, passed a non-binding resolution endorsing the Arab League's plan to end the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on the nearly yearlong pro-democracy uprising, and asking Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. There were 17 abstentions.

A similar Security Council resolution on Syria -- which would have been enforceable, unlike the non-binding General Assembly resolution -- was vetoed this month by Russia and China.

The Security Council is the only route for bringing charges against Syria in the International Criminal Court and Russian support is key to winning passage of any enforceable resolution, CNN reported. Such a resolution would allow U.N. sanctions against the Assad regime, which has denied its forces are involved in the crackdown on the uprising in which thousands have died.

Russia and Syria are longtime allies with trade and arms relations.

CNN said Russia, while expressing concern about Syria plunging into a civil war, has given mixed messages about accepting a U.N. arms embargo or economic sanctions.

Beijing announced Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun would travel to Syria to address the crisis, China Daily reported.

"We condemn all acts of violence against innocent civilians and urge the government and all political factions of Syria to immediately and fully end all violence, and quickly restore stability and the normal social order," Zhai said.

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