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

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs