DAMASCUS - The United Nations is a "puppet" of the US administration, a Syrian state newspaper said Friday, blasting the Security Council for failing to take any action on Israel's deadly military assaults on Gaza and Lebanon.

"The similarity in stances taken by the United Nations and the United States raises many questions about its impartial role toward the people," the official Ath-Thawra said.

"No sooner than the White House speaker has finished his speech, Kofi Annan makes the same demands, asking the Lebanese resistance to immediately release the two hostage soldiers -- an attitude also adopted by the European Union."

The United Nations "has not published any declaration demanding Israel free thousands of Arab -- Palestinian or Lebanese -- hostages and end its atrocious aggression in Gaza and southern Lebanon."

This "reduces the UN and its institutions, particularly the Security Council, to a puppet in the hands of the US administration and a tool for serving its interests and policies."

The United States on Thursday vetoed a resolution calling on Israel to halt military operations in Gaza, while 10 of the 15-member UN Security Council voted in favor.

07/14/2006 12:52 GMT

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