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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora