Aug 29, 2013

UNITED NATIONS/DAMASCUS .The U.N. Security Council failed to reach an agreement Wednesday on a British-proposed resolution to authorize the use of military force against Syria, as the U.N. chief pleaded for more time for diplomacy.
The UK has put a suggested resolution to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council "authorising all necessary measures to protect civilians" in Syria.
It calls for military action against what Britain has termed Syria's "unacceptable" use of chemical weapons.
U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have charged that Assad's government used deadly chemical weapons near Damascus last week.
The U.S. has not presented concrete proof, and U.N. inspectors currently in Syria to investigate alleged chemical attacks have not endorsed the allegations.
The five permanent members of the Security Council met in a closed-door, informal meeting to discuss the U.K. resolution Wednesday morning, with Russia and China leaving after an hour and the U.S., France and the U.K. remaining for another hour.
None of the countries' representatives, including U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, commented on a plan to move forward.
After the ambassadors met, the draft resolution was being sent back to their governments for consultations, according to a Western diplomat, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.
The diplomat said Russia reiterated its objections to international intervention in the Syrian crisis.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said no action should be taken until the U.N. chemical weapons inspectors finish their work.
"Let them conclude ... their work for four days and then we will have to analyze scientifically" their findings and send a report to the Security Council, he said.
The U.N. said the analysis would be done "as quickly as possible."
Ban also pleaded for more time to give diplomacy another chance to end the more than two-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.
But the secretary-general added that the Security Council must not go "missing in action."
Meanwhile, U.N. chemical weapons experts on Wednesday took biological samples from several victims of last week's purported attack, activists said Wednesday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that his government's National Security Council agreed "unanimously that the use of chemical weapons by Assad was unacceptable - and the world should not stand by" on Twitter.
The Prime Minister has met with military chiefs
Wedday to discuss military action in Syria, in response to suspected chemical attacks last week that killed over 350 civilians.
Cameron chaired the 90 minute National Security Council meeting at Downing Street to discuss possible military plans drawn up in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the NSC had agreed on a specific recommendation that would be put to government ministers on Thursday morning before parliament debated and voted on Britain's response.
Cameron's office declined to detail what this recommendation was, but a government source said a military strike was one of the options being considered by the NSC.
Turkey has now placed its armed forces on alert to guard against threats from Syria as Western allies weigh military action against President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced.
The Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has hit back in response to threats of military intervention on state television, accusing the West of fabricating reasons to launch an attack.
"Western countries, starting with the United States, are inventing fake scenarios and fictitious alibis to intervene militarily in Syria," he said.
United Nations Security Council, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that it seemed "some kind of substance" had been used near Damascus on 21 August killing hundreds of people, but that he awaited evidence from Western powers as well as UN inspectors currently visiting the sites.
Fear of a dramatic escalation in the two-and-a-half-year conflict prompted some 6,000 Syrians to flee into Lebanon over a 24-hour period, or more than six times the average daily flow.
More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died since the civil unrest erupted in Syria in March 2011.

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