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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.