Prince Saud Says Syria Crisis to Escalate If No UN Action

The United Nations must act to end violence in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s actions make negotiations impossible, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said.

“Damascus was carpet bombed,” Prince Saud said in Riyadh today, when asked if Saudi Arabia is pushing for talks between the main rebel group, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and Assad’s government. “How can we conceive of the possibility of a negotiated solution with someone who does that to his own country, his own people, his own history?”

The General Assembly must get involved if the Security Council continues to fail to muster enough support to intervene, Prince Saud said.

Russia and China blocked two Security Council resolutions to force an end to the civil war, which began in March 2011 and has claimed the lives of at least 60,000 people as fighting increasingly splits Syria along sectarian lines.

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim monarchy, is among countries that have recognized the main Syrian opposition fighting to oust Assad, whose core support is among Syrians from the Alawite community affiliated with Shiite Islam.

In December, the U.S. Defense Department said the Assad government appeared to be starting to use its arsenal of Scud ballistic missiles. A month later, an analysis by the UN showed an increase in the average number of documented deaths to 5,000 a month since July 2012, from around 1,000 a month previously.

To contact the reporters on this story: Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net; Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Caroline Alexander at calexander1@bloomberg.net

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