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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid