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Annan says U.N. Security Council must send signal on Syria violence

13-07-2012
21:25
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International mediator Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that new reports of a massacre by Syrian government forces showed U.N. resolutions were being ignored, making it imperative to signal that there will be consequences.
   
Annan, in a letter to the Security Council obtained by Reuters, repeated that the Syrian government's use of artillery, tanks and helicopters against the village of  Tremseh violated its commitments under a U.N.-approved peace plan.
   
"Tragically, we now have another grim reminder that the Council's resolutions continue to be flouted," Annan's letter said, noting that on Wednesday he had urged the Council to send a message that there would be consequences for non-compliance.
  
"This is imperative and could not be more urgent in light of unfolding events," his letter said.

Earlier in the day, United Nations monitoring mission chief General Robert Mood said on Friday that his team "can verify continuous fighting yesterday in the area of Tremseh".

"This involved mechanised units, indirect fire, as well as helicopters," he said.
   
U.N. monitors were ready to "go in and seek verification of facts if and when there is a credible ceasefire", he said.

Meanwhile, AFP quoted an official as saying that a Russian ship carrying helicopters for Syria has left the Arctic port.

AFP quoted the state's military export agency as saying  that "a Russian ship that tried to deliver attack helicopters to Syria last month has again left its Arctic port carrying the same military cargo".

"The Mi-25 helicopters subject for return to Syria after their repair are currently aboard the Alaed, which is sailing from the port in Murmansk to another port in Russia," Interfax quoted a Rosoboronexport statement as saying.

 International positions    

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed outrage on Friday over reports of a Syria government assault in the rebellious Hama region and urged the U.N. Security Council to make clear to Damascus that there would be consequences.
  
Clinton said accounts of the government attack on the village of Tremseh provided "indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians."
  
"We call for an immediate ceasefire in and around Hama to allow the UN observer mission to enter Tremseh," Clinton said in a statement. "Those who committed these atrocities will be identified and held accountable."

Meanwhile, Russia said on Friday it would urge U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan to work more closely with the Syrian opposition at talks in Moscow next week, and called for an inquiry into a massacre in Syria.
   
The Foreign Ministry said the massacre, in which opposition sources said about 220 people had been killed, served the interests of people who wanted a sectarian conflict in Syria, but did not directly apportion blame.

In turn, the White House said on that further "atrocities" in Syria by President Bashar al-Assad's forces should eliminate any doubt that a coordinated international response was necessary at the United Nations.
   
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One that through "repeated acts of violence against the Syrian people" Assad had lost the legitimacy to lead. 

Earlier on Friday, China said it would "seriously" study a new U.N. draft resolution on Syria after Syrian opposition activists said more than 200 people, mostly civilians, were massacred in a village by forces loyal to the Syrian government.    

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a daily news briefing that China was "looking seriously" at the draft resolution, and that members should seek consensus.  

The U.S. warned Syria on Friday that it will be held responsible if it does not secure its chemical weapons, following an article hinting at the transfer of some of these weapons from their storage places.     

Meanwhile, France said on Friday that the U.N. Security Council must assume its responsibilities after the reported massacre in the Syrian village of Tremseh.

"Stiffened resolve must now be shown with the threat of sanctions from the Security Council. The time has come for everyone to assume their responsibilities," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told journalists on Friday.


Muslim Brotherhood     

For its part, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood held international mediator Kofi Annan, Iran and Russia responsible for Thursday’s massacre that killed over 150 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the Sunni Muslim village of Tremseh in Rif Hama.

Syrian National Council  

Also on Friday, the Syrian National Council issued a statement calling on the U.N. Security Council to take an “urgent and crucial decision under chapter 7 to protect the Syrian people after the massacre in Rif Hama."          

Meanwhile, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that Damascus accused the “bloody media” and “terrorists” of being behind the Tremseh massacre.

REUTERS/LBCI

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