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Saudi Arabia Pushes for New Syria Resolution

Saudi Arabia has begun circulating a new resolution on Syria, a week after a similar draft was vetoed by Russia and China.

Saudi Arabia has begun circulating a new resolution on Syria, a week after a similar draft was vetoed by Russia and China, the BBC reported.

The draft resolution “fully supports” an Arab League plan calling on President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his deputy.

It also lays the blame for the violence squarely on the Syrian authorities, and calls for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a special envoy to ensure a peaceful solution to the 11-month-old unrest.

The Saudi draft is similar to one which Russia and China vetoed in the UN Security Council on February 4.

Russia said the Security Council was too “hasty” in bringing the resolution to a vote and described Western condemnation of Moscow’s veto as “hysterical.”

Russia is one of Syria’s largest arms suppliers and has a naval base there.

During a visit to Damascus last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said President Assad was ready for dialogue with all political forces.

In a short televised speech on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah criticized Russia’s support for Assad and described its veto as “absolutely regrettable.”

The UN General Assembly is due to discuss the crisis in Syria on Monday.

Iranian news network Press TV cited diplomatic sources saying the assembly would not put the Saudi draft to a vote on Monday but that there could be a vote later next week. Resolutions of the General Assembly however are not binding, unlike those of the Security Council.

Meanwhile, the Syrian authorities continued to bombard the city of Homs, a center of resistance to Assad’s regime.

At least 52 people were killed by security forces on Friday, opposition activists say.

Human rights groups say more than 7,000 people have died since the uprising began in March last year.

The government says around 2,000 members of its security forces have been killed in the unrest.

On Friday, violence spread to Syria’s second largest city of Aleppo with two bomb blasts that killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 200 others.

The government and the rebel Free Syrian Army have blamed each other for the explosions.

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