United Nations: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad admitted on Thursday that his security forces had made "some mistakes" in battling protests, as he met with several UN Security Council members. (Agencies)
The deputy foreign ministers from the three emerging powers of Brazil, India and South Africa met Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Damascus to call for an "immediate end to all violence" in Syria, a statement said.
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," according to the statement.
"He said that political reforms were being finalised 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. International critics of Assad say he has done nothing to embark on the reforms.
Brazil, India and South Africa had initially been among several members of the 15-nation UN Security Council resisting efforts by European powers and the United States to agree on a council condemnation of the violence.
A statement was unanimously passed last week as the violence worsened. He said that "political reforms were being finalised 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." The process of revision of the constitution would be completed by February/March 2012.
Moualem briefed the delegation about reasons behind the unrest and explained the steps taken by the government to bring the situation under control.
He said the opposition in Syria comprised the economically disadvantaged sections, intellectuals and academics and armed groups.
The delegation expressed "grave concern" at the current situation in Syria and condemned violence from all sides. It reaffirmed the commitment of India, Brazil and South Africa to the "sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria."
The envoys "regretted all loss of life and were concerned over the humanitarian impact of the violence," the statement said. "They called for an immediate end to all violence and urged all sides to act with utmost restraint and respect for human rights and international human rights law."
The delegation also noted the establishment of an independent judicial committee to investigate the violence and "stressed the importance of ensuring the credibility and impartiality" of such a committee.
The delegation stressed that it is essential for the Syrian government not to lose momentum and to continue the process of national dialogue and political reforms with the "aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population."
United Nations: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad admitted on Thursday that his security forces had made "some mistakes" in battling protests, as he met with several UN Security Council members.