U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Security Council on Tuesday that U.N. action to end the violence in Syria would be different from the NATO-led efforts in Libya that resulted in the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.
“I know that some members here may be concerned that the Security Council is headed toward another Libya,” Clinton said, referring to Russia‘s refusal to back measures against Syria on the grounds that it could lead to armed intervention. “That is a false analogy.”
Russia says it worries that a draft measure aimed at Syria, currently before the council, could lead to military action and regime change — just as an Arab-backed U.N. resolution led to NATO airstrikes in Libya.
“It is time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria,” Clinton said.
Her comments followed a rare call by the Arab League to condemn violence in a fellow Arab country, and adopt its peace plan calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step aside.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby told the council that the league wanted the Security Council act “to support our initiative and not to take its place.”
“We are attempting to avoid any foreign intervention, particularly military intervention” in Syria, he said. “We have always stressed full respect of the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian people.”
In his response, Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari lashed out at the league, accusing it of acting without consulting the Syrian leadership.
“How strange it is for us to see some members of the League of Arab States seeking the support of the Security Council against Syria,” Ja’afari said. He noted that the Security Council often has voted in support of Israel against Arab-backed
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