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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid