September 28, 2012 - 10:20 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Western nations and allies in the Middle East meet Friday, Sept 28, to urge Syria's fractured opposition to unite, seeking a new path for ending the country's conflict amid deadlock between major powers on the UN Security Council, The Associated Press reports.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hosting talks among the Friends of Syria — a coalition which includes the United States, the European Union and the Arab League — on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, seeking to encourage better cooperation among groups which oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The talks, which don't include Russia, China or Iran, take place with the Security Council at a stalemate on efforts to halt the 18-month long conflict, which activists say has led to more than 30,000 deaths.
Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to end the violence and enter negotiations on a political transition.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said it is "shocking" that the Security Council had been unable to act, while British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced the deaths of Syrian children as "a stain on those who have failed to stand up to these atrocities," a reference to Russia and China.
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that he was developing a 12-nation group to work on developing a solution to Syria's crisis, but declined to say which countries may be involved or what steps the body might take.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has also invited Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to join a contact group aimed at ending the conflict, though the Saudis have not yet participated. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was addressing the General Assembly on Friday.
Libya's new Prime Minister Mustafa Abu-Shakour and foreign ministers of Germany and South Korea are also scheduled Friday to address the General Assembly.