US, Europe say UN action against Assad getting closer


Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad admitted that “some mistakes” had been made by security forces in a meeting Wednesday with a delegation from UN Security Council members Brazil, India and South Africa, said a statement released by the countries.

The deputy foreign ministers from the three emerging powers met Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at talks in Damascus to call for an “immediate end to all violence” in Syria, said the statement.

Assad “acknowledged that some mistakes had been made by the security forces in the initial stages of the unrest and that efforts were underway to prevent their recurrence,” said the statement released by India’s UN mission.

Rights groups say more than 2,000 people have died in protests since an uprising started in mid-March. More deaths were reported on Wednesday as the talks went ahead.

The Syrian president “reassured the delegation of his commitment to the reform process, aimed at ushering in multi-party democracy,” said the statement.

“He said that political reforms were being finalized in consultation with the people of Syria and the national dialogue would continue to give shape to the new laws and to arrive at a suitable model for the economy.”

Assad was quoted as saying that constitutional revisions would be completed by February-March 2012.

Brazil, India and South Africa had been among members of the 15-nation UN Security Council that had resisted efforts by European powers and the United States to agree a council condemnation of the violence.

A statement was passed last week as the violence worsened.