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US Considering New Diplomatic Measures Against Syria - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq al Awsat – The United States on Wednesday said it was considering “new diplomatic measures” against Syria while France indicated it was &#34in contact” with the United Nations on the subject, as a newspaper reported that Washington and Paris were in the process of introducing a UN resolution against Syria.

Jean-Baptiste Mattei, French foreign ministry spokesman, said the two reports on the assassination of Lebanon ’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon “will be presented to UN chief Kofi Annan and later discussed in the Security Council”, according to AFP.

The French diplomat added that “in this respect, it was normal that our mission to the UN carried out the necessary discussions with our allies to prepare for the upcoming period”.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post newspaper revealed on Wednesday the US and French governments intended to put forward a plan for a UN resolution next week that would hold Syria responsible for meddling in Lebanon and involvement in Hariri’s murder, according to a number of senior diplomatic sources.

This would be the strongest international decision against Damascus and would be aimed at isolating the regime of President Bashar Assad who, for the first time, finds himself without any Arab support as important Arab governments, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia refuse to support him, according to western diplomats.

A Western diplomat was quoted as saying, on condition of anonymity, the resolution will be &#34the perfect storm for Damascus &#34 and &#34it is pretty clear the Syrians do not have any friends left,” a Western diplomat was quoted as saying. The resolutions were expected to be introduced next Tuesday in the wake of the reports.

US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was reported in the Washington Post to have discussed the report with UN chief Kofi Annan during a working lunch in New York City on Tuesday. Rice had embarked last week on a diplomatic tour of Russia , France and the Unite Kingdom to discuss Lebanon and Syria .

Addressing the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, she refused to rule out military action against Syria , but said Washington had not exhausted diplomatic moves to get Damascus to change its ways over Iraq and Lebanon .

Sean McCormack, State Department spokesman said, “The region world has a few problems with Syria ”s conduct” and indicated that the Lebanese, Palestinian, and Iraqi government had all objected to Damascus ’ policies.

The Washington Post stated the report of German investigator Detlev Mehlis into Hariris” murder is though to be the more explosive of the two. While its conclusions were not yet known, diplomats predicted that it will incriminate Syria in the death of Hariri and 19 others in a large explosion on February 14th , 2005 , and state that Damascus did not cooperate fully with the investigation.

Syria is likely to come under heavy pressure to hand over any Syria suspects named by Mehlis.

Lebanon has already arrested four pro-Syrian Lebanese security chiefs and charged them with murder on the recommendation of the German investigator.

For his part, Terje Roed-Larsen, UN special envoy, will present his findings on the implementation of resolution 1559, which was supported by the US and French governments and calls for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and the dissolution of militias. It is believed the report will mention Syrian involvement in infiltrating fighters and weapons to the Palestinian refugee camps around Lebanon and thereby destabilize the country.

Syria has said that it had adhered to the resolution and withdrew an estimated 140000 soldier from Lebanon after a 29-year presence. It continues to deny any involvement in the assassination of Hariri.- with agencies

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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