News / Middle East

Europeans Push for Condemnation of Syria at UN

France's UN Ambassador Gérard Araud  (file photo)
France's UN Ambassador Gérard Araud (file photo)
Margaret Besheer

European members of the U.N. Security Council have introduced a revised draft resolution condemning the repression in Syria, which they hope to bring to a vote in the council by the end of this week.

The Council has been very divided on the issue of uprisings in the Middle East. The U.N.’s most powerful body was silent on anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt and more recently in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.

The only country it has pronounced loudly on is Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi threatened to go house-to-house to kill civilians who opposed him. In that case, the Security Council authorized military air strikes.

Earlier efforts in the council to respond to the Syrian protests failed to win consensus and were abandoned. Then in late May, the four European countries on the 15-member council - Britain, France, Germany and Portugal - circulated a draft text condemning the violence and calling for its immediate end.

But it quickly ran into problems with veto-wielding members Russia and China, who are always more reticent about interfering in what they see as internal state matters. Diplomats say non-permanent members Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon have also expressed concerns about the resolution.

After several rounds of discussions by the council’s political experts, the Europeans amended their original draft and brought it back to the council on Wednesday. British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters some of what is in it:

“It demands an immediate end to the violence and condemns the systematic human rights abuses," said Lyall Grant. "It calls on the Syrian authorities immediately to lift the siege of affected towns; it calls for steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people - which include reforms that would allow genuine political participation, inclusive dialogue, and the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms. And it calls upon all states to exercise vigilance and prevent the supply of arms to Syria.”

Ambassador Lyall Grant said the council would meet again Thursday to discuss the draft, adding he hoped there would be broad support for the measure and it could be put to a vote soon.

“We believe that the world should not stand silent in the face of the outrages that are happening and we hope that we will be able to move on the resolution in the coming days," he said.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud told reporters after the closed meeting that the escalation of violence over the last weeks has raised concerns Syria could slide into a civil war.

“The resolution that we have presented is simply sending a message - calling the Syrian authorities to choose the way of political dialogue; to call the Syrian authorities to stop the repression - because in anyway, what has happened in the last weeks has shown that this repression is totally unable to stop the protests of the Syrian people," said Araud.

Asked by reporters if Russia could support the newest draft, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow could not. He said his government is not “persuaded it can help establish dialogue and reach a political settlement.” He added that Moscow is concerned it would have the opposite effect.

The United States has thrown its full support behind the draft resolution. Asked about the division within the council, Ambassador Susan Rice said it would become clear when there is a vote.

“I am most concerned that the United States of America express itself clearly and plainly," said Rice. "We will be on the right side of history as and when this comes to a vote. If others are unable to or unwilling to, then that will be their responsibility to bear.”

She said that several members used the example of Libya as “an excuse and as a ploy” to avoid the real issues involving Syria.

Rights groups say at least 1,100 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown against the anti-government campaign that began in mid-March. More than 10,000 people have been arrested.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid