UN Security Council agrees to condemn Syria this afternoon

By Eliza

Aug 3, 2011 1:34pm

ABC News' Kirit Radia (@KiritRadia_ABC) reports:

A Security Council diplomat tells ABC News the council has agreed to condemn Syria for widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians in its crackdown on protesters seeking President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster.

The condemnation will come at 3:00 p.m. in the form of a presidential statement, read out loud by the Indian permanent representative to the UN who holds the council's rotating presidency. Such a presidential statement is considered weaker than a full resolution but is significant in this case because it has won the support of Russia, which blocked such action earlier this year.

According to the diplomat, the council will express grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria and express profound regret at the death of hundreds of people.

They’ll also call for an immediate end to the violence on both sides and say those responsible for the violence must be held accountable. The council will also note the lack of progress on implementing promised reform.

There was some discussion about whether to call for an investigation into the killings, but that will not be part of this action.

The British delegation re-introduced their draft measure on Monday, a day after dozens were reported killed by Syrian security forces in the restive city of Hama. Diplomats met yesterday to haggle over the text and Brazil offered some wording changes. Delegates met again this morning to approve the text that will ultimately be adopted.

Today there was some last minute drama when Lebanon, whose government is greatly influenced by Syria through a sizable Hezbollah faction, was awaiting instructions from Beirut whether or not to block the measure. In the end, Lebanon decided not to stand in the way, allowing the measure to be adopted.

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