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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid