World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.N. General Assembly said on Tuesday it will hold a meeting on the crisis in Syria this week and diplomats say it will likely vote on a Saudi-drafted resolution that condemns the Security Council for failing to take action against Damascus.
The 193-nation assembly's press office said the meeting on Syria's 16-month-old conflict would occur at 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
U.N. diplomats said the assembly was expected to vote on a draft resolution that voices "grave concern at the escalation of violence in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights."
The latest draft, dated July 30, was penned by Saudi Arabia, which is openly supporting the rebel forces fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The draft resolution would also have the assembly "expressing grave concern at the Syrian authorities' threat to use chemical or biological weapons." Damascus recently acknowledged having chemical arms, but said it would only use such weapons if it was attacked by foreign powers.
The assembly meeting comes after Russia and China on July 19 used their Security Council veto powers for the third time to strike down a Western-backed draft resolution that would have threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they failed to halt the violence.
The Saudi draft resolution would also have the assembly "deploring the Security Council failure toagree on measures to ensure the Syrian authorities' compliance with its decisions" calling for an endto the violence. That condemnation, Western envoys say, is aimed at Moscow and Beijing.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, which can be legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding. But there are no vetoes in the assembly and only a simple majority is needed to pass them.
Western diplomats say they hope a strong majority vote in the assembly for a resolution condemningSyria and the Security Council would increase the pressure on Russia and China to stop shielding Assad from sanctio ns.
The Saudi resolution also reiterates the Arab League's calls for Assad to step down and allow a political transition to a democratic government.
The draft text urges both the government forces and rebels to stop the violence, though it focuses its criticism on Assad's government.
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari has repeatedly accused Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser of Qatar, president of the General Assembly, of using his position to push the Qatari national agenda. Damascus has said repeatedly that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are arming the rebels.
The attack targeted a meeting of ISIL leaders in the eastern Deir Ez Zour province
Official results of Iraq’s parliamentary election have been dogged by controversy and allegations of vote-rigging
Threat comes after EU announced 25 percent tariff on US products
Armed terrorists ‘neutralized’ in northern Iraqi region of Gara
Palestinians have been holding mass rallies near Gaza-Israel security fence since March 30
Police report states driver of car that killed pedestrian in Arizona was streaming television show
Decision follows Trump's pledge to end “war games” during Singapore summit
Conservative bill was widely expected to fail in the chamber
Washington urges Moscow to reign in ally amid offensive in de-escalation zone
‘Koko touched lives of millions as an icon for interspecies communication and empathy’, Gorilla Foundation says
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says they will look into strengthening transatlantic bond in summit next month
Administration to no longer require immediate legal proceedings for undocumented adults who cross illegally with children
Trump administration makes request following backlash over its immigration policy
President says he will take ‘preemptive’ action to halt the actions that have drawn widespread criticism