UN urges ′sustained pressure′ on Syria′s Assad | News | DW | 19.06.2012
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UN urges 'sustained pressure' on Syria's Assad

UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon called on the Security Council on Tuesday to put "sustained pressure" on Syrian President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile, Russia and the US again called for an end to the violence.

UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon was "gravely concerned" about the rising death toll in Syria, Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez Taranco told a Security Council briefing on Tuesday, adding that Ban was also worried about "unmet humanitarian needs."

Again putting the primary responsibility onto the Assad regime, he said that "a truly joint effort by the council, one that delivers unified and sustained pressure to demand compliance in full with the six-point plan [by Kofi Annan] is urgently needed."

The situation was "particularly alarming" in the central city of Homs, where human rights monitors say some 1,000 families have been trapped in a bombardment by government forces of rebel fighters.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian foreign ministry said it was prepared to evacuate civilians from Homs and that it had contacted the UN mission and local authorities to do so, but blamed rebel groups for preventing efforts by using the residents as human shields.

Obama and Putin on Syria

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama met on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. In a statement released after the meeting, the two leaders said that "in order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence."

But Putin and Obama could neither agree on any fresh plan to combat the crisis nor on how to handle sanctions against the Assad regime.

The head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood is scheduled to brief the Security Council in a closed meeting later on Tuesday.

The 300-member UN monitoring team suspended its activities in Syria on Saturday due to escalating bloodshed but said they hoped to remain in Damascus.

ng/slk (AFP, Reuters)