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Inside Story
Can the UN quell Syria's unrest?
As violence in the country escalates, we examine the Arab League's proposal for UN peacekeepers to be deployed.
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2012 12:24

Syria has rejected a call by the Arab League for a joint UN peacekeeping force to be stationed in the country.

"The western part of the international community is occupied with toppling the government rather than making Syria more stable. The eastern part, the Russias and Chinas of the world, are more interested in getting a better solution out of this regardless of whether the current government stays or leaves. The Arabic part has pulled themselves into this game of 'bet all and lose all' so they are quite desperate to get rid of the government."

- Ammar Waqqaf, a member of the Syrian Social Club

The idea was mooted during a meeting of the group's foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday.

But for it to materialise, the UN Security Council would have to first agree.

And it was the council that failed to pass a resolution recently for action against Syria when Russia and China vetoed the draft.

China will not yet be drawn on the matter of peacekeeping troops, while Russia says it is studying the plan, adding that there would have to be a ceasefire first.

So, could the international community agree on a new proposal on Syria this time around? Will Russia and China soften their positions in the UN? Can the proposal work on the ground?

Joining presenter Nick Clark on Inside Story are guests: Ammar Waqqaf, a member of the Syrian Social Club, a pro-government group supporting reform; Nabila Ramdani, a Middle East analyst and columnist; and Sergei Strokan, a political analyst and columnist for Kommersant, Russia's daily news online.

"Russia's leadership and political elite feel deep suspicion towards the real intention of those who are coming forward with this resolution. Apart from military warfare, we're seeing [an] escalated information war over Syria. Part and parcel of this is the notion that President Assad is no more popular whereas Russia referring to its sources say that more than half of the population still support him ... and that it's too early to write him off."

Sergay Strokan, a columnist for Kommersant online


Key developments:

Syria rejected a call by the Arab League to send in UN peacekeepers. The league said the peacekeeping force should monitor events in Syria. The idea was proposed by the league at a meeting in Cairo on Sunday. Earlier, Russia's foreign minister held a news conference in Moscow with his Emirati counterpart, saying that dialogue with all Syrian parties is the best way forward. Russia and China vetoed the resolution against Syria at the UN Security Council last week.
Source:
Al Jazeera
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