US urges UN to speak out about violence in Syria
Updated: 2011-12-14 09:21
WASHINGTON - The United States on Tuesday called for the UN Security Council to speak out about the violence in Syria, saying it is past time for the world body to do so.
"We think it's the Assad regime that is immoral in the violence it's perpetrating on its own people," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "And frankly, we think that it is past time for the UN Security Council to speak up."
She made the remarks in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's accusation on Tuesday of several countries of "being immoral" in their claims that Russia has been blocking the work of the Security Council.
"We're again calling on our partners on the Security Council to be willing to take action and speak out for the innocents in Syria who are suffering at the hands of the regime, including Russia," Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing.
UN estimates that some 5,000 people have died in Syria since anti-government protests broke out in mid-March, and the Arab League and Turkey have joined the US and its European partners in increasing pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad by imposing targeted sanctions.
On October4, Russia, along with China, vetoed a Security Council draft resolution on Syria, saying the draft was based on a "philosophy of confrontation" and ran counter to a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
Nuland argued that the Security Council ought to speak out about the violence and support the "increasingly loud call" inside and outside of Syria for monitors as well as for the return of the press.
Lavrov also called for Syria to sign a peace plan proposed by the Arab League that would allow Arab monitors into the country. But he accused the Syrian opposition of attempting to trigger a humanitarian disaster in the country to justify foreign military intervention.
Nuland said the opposition in Syria has generally been peaceful in its confrontation with the government.