U.S., France and Britain challenge Security Council to adopt tough resolution on Syria

U.N. Security Council is under pressure of The United States, France and Britain to adopt a very tough resolution against Syria which would threaten sanctions if Damascus fails to cooperate fully with a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The pressure on Syria is likely to intensify Wednesday when a report by the U.N. special envoy on Syria-Lebanon, Terje Roed-Larsen, on disarming Lebanese militias is released. There are allegations that Syria is continuing to smuggle arms to Palestinian militia groups in Lebanese refugee camps, in violation of a council resolution adopted in September 2004 demanding that all militias be disarmed.

But how tough the Security Council will be on Damascus remains to be seen. Russia and China, which as permanent members have veto power, and Algeria, the only Arab member of the council, have been hesitant to use the threat of sanctions to back up a call for more Syrian cooperation.

A draft resolution circulated late Tuesday by the United States, France and Britain strongly backs a report by the U.N. investigating commission which implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials in Hariri's assassination and accused Syria of not cooperating fully with the probe.

The report caused an uproar in the region and brought swift denials from the Syrian government, which called the report biased, politicized and an American plot to take over the region.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad told the council Tuesday that every paragraph in the report deserved to be refuted. He insisted Syria "has cooperated faithfully and sincerely" and will continue to do so.

But Damascus is certain to be unhappy about many of the demands it would face if the draft resolution is adopted, reports the AP.


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