UN Security Council member Germany on Sunday formally requested emergency consultations by the 15-nation body on the Syrian government’s deadly offensive against demonstrators, a spokesman said.
A meeting could be held on Monday. But the move is likely to reopen bitter divisions within the Security Council, which has not yet been able to agree even a statement on President Bashar al-Assad’s four month-old crackdown against opponents.
India will take over from Germany on Monday as president of the council, fixing the body’s agenda. But German spokesman Alexander Eberl said he expected a meeting on Monday afternoon.
Britain, France, Germany, Portugal and the United States have been pressing for weeks for some kind of condemnation of the violence.
But Russia, China, South Africa, India and Brazil – which are angry at the Nato bombing campaign in Libya – have refused to support the move.
Russia and China have threatened to veto any formal resolution against Assad.
European diplomats said that the latest violence could sway one of the doubters to back a Security Council move.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon called again on Assad to halt the military offensive on opposition protesters in which nearly 140 people were killed on Sunday, his spokesman said.
Ban strongly condemned the action by Assad who has been refusing to take the UN leader’s calls for several weeks.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned over reports from Syria that hundreds of protesters have been killed and injured in Hama and other towns and cities throughout the country,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
“He strongly condemns the use of force against the civilian population and calls on the government of Syria to halt this violent offensive at once.
Ban reaffirmed Syria’s obligation to respect human rights, including the freedom to demonstrate peacefully and urged Assad “to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the population.”
“The secretary general reminds the Syrian authorities that they are accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by them against the civilian population,” the spokesman said.
Activists say Sunday’s offensive in Syria is one of the deadliest since demonstrators first took to the streets on March 15 demanding democratic reforms.
Syrian forces killed nearly 140 people, including at least 100 when the army stormed the flashpoint protest city of Hama to crush dissent on the eve of Ramadan, activists said.
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