News / Middle East

Arab League to UN: End Syrian ‘Killing Machine’ Now

Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby during a UN Security Council meeting about Syria, Jan. 31, 2012.
Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby during a UN Security Council meeting about Syria, Jan. 31, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

The Arab League is urging the U.N. Security Council to support its political plan to end the crisis in Syria, where more than 5,400 people have died during the past 10 months.  Special session on Syria was held Tuesday.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, told the 15-member Security Council that the Syrian government has failed to meet its commitments to the Arab League to end the violence and that it is clearly pursuing a military strategy to end nearly a year of anti-government protests.

“The fact of the matter is that bloodshed continues and the killing machine is still at work; violence spreads," he said.

On Monday, Syrian human rights groups say 100 people were killed in one of the bloodiest days since the protests began last March.  There were reports of more deaths on Tuesday.

Sheikh Hamad said that if the situation continues, it will threaten the stability of the region and could result in the “most serious consequences.”  He said that if the Security Council does not adopt the Arab-sponsored, Western-backed Security Council resolution endorsing the Arab League plan, it would send the wrong message to the Syrian government and encourage it to continue oppressing its people.  He said the Arab League does not have ulterior motives.

“We are not calling for a military intervention," he said. "We are advocating the adoption of economic pressure to bring the Syrian regime to understand that it cannot avoid meeting the demands of its people.  We are not after a regime change because we believe this is a matter the Syrian people should decide.”

Arab League Secretary General Nabil ElAraby also addressed the ministerial meeting.  

“We, therefore, believe that the first priority now is for the Security Council to adopt a resolution demanding that all parties - I repeat, all parties - immediately cease fire, protect Syrians and support the Arab plan toward a peaceful, political settlement of the crisis," said ElAraby.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed Washington’s support for the Arab League request and told the council’s members that they have a choice - to stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence.

“It is time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria," said Clinton. "The alternative - spurning the Arab League, abandoning the Syrian people, emboldening the dictator  - would compound this tragedy, and would mark a failure of our shared responsibility, and shake the credibility of the United Nations Security Council.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also urged the council to endorse the Arab League initiative, saying the plan offers a credible and viable way out of the violence.

“It would remove the major stumbling blocks to reform and give confidence to the Syrian people," said Hague. "It would start an inclusive Syrian-led political process that would allow the Syrian people to determine their future peacefully.  And it would lead to a national unity government and elections.”

In October, Russia and China used their vetoes to block a western-backed Security Council resolution condemning the violence in Syria.  On Tuesday, they expressed their continuing reservations.

Moscow, Damascus’ long-time ally, also has expressed fears that any resolution could pave the way for military intervention, similar to what happened in Libya.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin:

“We will not stand for any sanctions resolutions or using the council’s tool box so as to fuel conflict or possibly justify any foreign intervention in the future," said Churkin. "But this is not the matter at hand.  The council cannot impose the parameters for an internal political settlement; it simply does not have the mandate to do so under the [UN] Charter.”

China’s envoy Li Baodong echoed the Russian position, saying that Beijing takes a cautious approach to sanctions and opposes practices that push for regime change.

Diplomats said negotiations would continue in the coming days on the proposed Security Council resolution in an effort to reach a consensus or at least avoid a Russian and/or Chinese veto on the measure.  

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid