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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid