News / Middle East

UN Security Council Discusses New Syria Resolution

Demonstrators march through the streets in Homs. Britain, France, Germany and Portugal Tuesday circulated a new draft U.N. resolution condemning Syria that drops previous calls for immediate sanctions against Damascus, September 27, 2011.
Demonstrators march through the streets in Homs. Britain, France, Germany and Portugal Tuesday circulated a new draft U.N. resolution condemning Syria that drops previous calls for immediate sanctions against Damascus, September 27, 2011.
Margaret Besheer

The U.N. Security Council discussed a possible compromise resolution on Syria Wednesday - one that would not include sanctions, but would condemn the escalating violence in Syria, urge implementation of promised reforms and call on the government and the opposition to engage in an inclusive Syrian-led political process.  

For several months, the Security Council has been unable to reach an agreement on a strong resolution regarding the situation in Syria, where the government has been cracking down on anti-government protesters.  The United Nations says some 2,700 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-March.

The issue of sanctions has been the main sticking point, with Russia, India, Brazil and other countries on the council against imposing them on Damascus.

Earlier attempts at a resolution ended in August in a presidential statement, which does not carry the same weight as a resolution.

This week, the four European members on the council - Britain, France, Germany and Portugal - circulated a revised draft resolution that threatens only sanctions later if reforms and other measures are not implemented.  Diplomats say they hope to bring it to a vote as early as Friday.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud told reporters that the new European text is a major compromise.

“We really want compromise," said Araud. "The text we are presenting is without sanctions, which is from our point of view, it is a very significant step.  So I do hope that we reach compromise with all the members of the council.”

Earlier Wednesday, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the European draft was “a continuation of the openly declared policy of regime change” of some council members and that in Moscow’s view, it encouraged “destructive elements” in the Syrian opposition to continue their violence.  He said Russia had put forth to the council a revised draft of its earlier resolution.

By early evening, after all 15 Security Council members met to discuss the two proposed texts, Churkin sounded optimistic that a compromise would be reached, saying that the sides should be able to find common ground.

“The main thing is not to lose sight of those two objectives - stop violence immediately and put in train a political process which would lead to reforms and which would lead to a satisfactory situation of the people of Syria," said Churkin.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari was outside the Security Council during the closed meeting.  He told reporters that the European draft, which has U.S. support, is intended to distract from the issue of the Palestinian application for U.N. membership, which was submitted last week.

“Focusing on the Palestinian issue is not good for [the] USA and the Europeans; this is why they need to focus on something else.  It is a diversion," he said.

Ja’afari said the situation in Syria is improving and that the government is in full control of the country, with the exception, he said, of “some minor spots” in the city of Homs.  He added that in a few days, a new commission would be established to review the constitution, adding that the government is “on the right track.”

The Syrian ambassador said his government does not need outside interference in implementing reforms, and would prefer the Security Council encouraged members of the opposition to engage in national dialogue instead of sending negative messages that their actions have international protection.  

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs