UNITED NATIONS, Oct 31 (AFP): The UN Security Council was to vote Monday in a special ministerial session on a tough resolution threatening Syria with economic sanctions if it does not cooperate fully with the probe into the murder of Lebanon's ex-premier.
The co-sponsors of the draft resolution, the United States, France and Britain, say they are confident that a large majority of the council's 15 members will endorse the text and say they do not expect a veto by either China or Russia.
Up to 13 foreign ministers were expected to attend the session, which follows the release of a report by UN chief investigator Detlev Mehlis implicating senior Syrian security officials in the murder of Lebanese former premier Rafiq Hariri in Beirut last February.
The text of the draft resolution has been amended several times to mollify members, such as Algeria, China and Russia, which oppose any mention of economic or diplomatic sanctions.
To be adopted, a resolution needs the support of at least nine members and no veto from the five permanent members:
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
"What we see is unanimous support for a very strong, very clear signal to Syria," the US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said Friday. "I don't foresee a veto."
"Some quarters within the Security Council are trying to turn it into a tribunal whereby Chapter VII (of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions in the case of a threat to international peace and security) would be unfairly applied against Syria," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Muallem Muallem said in Qatar Sunday.