Clinton: UN Must Take Action to Prevent More Deaths in Syria

Washington, Jan. 31- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, addressing a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday, said the international community must support the downfall of the Syrian regime.

"We all know that change is coming to Syria," Clinton told delegates. "The question is how many more innocent civilians will die before (President Bashar) Assad bows to the inevitable, and how unstable a country he will leave behind."

The United Nations says 5,400 people have been killed by Assad’s forces in the 10 months since the uprising began, and internal opposition groups say 120 were killed before that.

The British and French foreign ministers joined Clinton at the meeting, and the three hoped to persuade a reluctant Russia to support at least some measure condemning the violence in Syria.

"How long do Syrian families have to live in fear that their children will be killed or tortured, before the Security Council will act?" British Foreign Minister William Hague asked. "How many people need to die before the consciences of world capitals are stirred?"

Russia indicated it may support a watered-down resolution that calls for a peaceful transition of power, but would not condone any language that implements sanctions or approves military action, which reports saidwas unlikely in a resolution. As of this release, the body was deadlocked over the language of the resolution.

All three nations have endorsed an Arab League plan to facilitate political change in Syria that would have Assad hand over power to his Vice-President within 15 days. The League however ended its monitoring mission last Saturday in response to increased bloodshed by regime forces.

The league's Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani told the Security Council that the Syrian government failed to accept the league's plan of action to end the bloodshed, which resulted in calls for imposing sanctions against Damascus.

"The Syrian government failed to make any effort to cooperate with us,” Al-Thani said.

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