Feb. 1 - U.N. Council urged to act fast on Syria as violence escalates. Sophia Soo reports.
The heat is turning up on Syria. Arab and Western states are urging the U.N. Security Council to act swiftly on a resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly backed the Arab League. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON SAYING: "We all have a choice: stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there." Clinton adds the situation in Syria is deteriorating rapidly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON SAYING: "To date the evidence is clear that Assad's forces are initiating nearly all the attacks that kill civilians, but as more citizens take up arms to resist the regime's brutality, violence is increasingly likely to spiral out of control." These views were echoed by the Prime Minister of Qatar. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) QATARI PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM AL-THANI SAYING: "The killing machine is still at work. Violence spreads and this approach has become clear in declarations made by the Syrian minister for foreign affairs." The comments were apparently designed to confront Russia over its reluctance to support the resolution. Diplomats have been haggling for days to find a text Moscow will not block. But after the Security Council meeting, Russian U.N. envoy said Syria's political future was not the business of the council. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING: "This is simply not the authority of the Security Council. The Security Council can not prescribe ready recipes for the outcome of the domestic political process. It's not in the charter. We don't want the Security Council to fall into the habit, because once you start, it's difficult to stop. Then you will start telling what king needs to resign and what prime minister needs to step down. This is really not the business of the Security Council." The fate of the resolution depends on whether Russia, one Assad's few remaining allies, can be persuaded not to veto the European-Arab draft resolution. Sophia Soo, Reuters