News / Middle East

Hopes Rise for UN Action on Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, at the State Department in Washington.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, at the State Department in Washington.

Russia Thursday proposed a new draft resolution condemning the violence in Syria, giving rise to hopes the U.N. Security Council will end its relative silence on the nine month crackdown on protestors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is ready to work with Moscow on the proposal.

Officials here say the Russian draft falls short of the harsh condemnation of, and sanctions against, the Syrian government that the United States and key allies have been seeking.

But they say the fact that Moscow, which has along with China blocked previous resolution efforts, is now supporting stronger language than it had previously gives rise to hope the Security Council can take a collective stand on the crisis.

According to copies of the Russian draft obtained by reporters, it condemns violence by all parties, including the use of “disproportionate” force by Syrian authorities.

It also raises concern over what is termed the “illegal supply of weapons” to armed groups in Syria.

U.S. officials had said previous language proposed by Moscow equated the actions of Syrian security forces with those of largely peaceful protestors, and gave comfort to President Bashar al-Assad, who says Syrian forces are responding to an armed insurrection.

At a press event with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal, Secretary of State Clinton said the Russian draft still has language the United States cannot support, but it can be the basis for negotiation.

“There’s unfortunately a seeming parity between the government and peaceful protestors and then other Syrians who are trying to defend themselves. But we’re going to study the draft carefully. It will have to be shared with the Arab League, which has taken the lead on the response to what’s going on in Syria. And hopefully we can work with the Russians, who for the first time, at least, are recognizing that this is a matter that needs to go to the Security Council," she said.

British and French diplomats also welcomed the Russian draft, though saying it requires amendments. The United Nations said earlier this week the death toll in Syrian violence since March now exceeds 5,000.

The monitoring group Human Rights Watch issued a report in Moscow and other capitals Thursday naming more than 70 high-ranking Syrian military commanders and government officials who it said ordered authorized or condoned killings, torture and unlawful arrests on unarmed protestors.

The rights group said the chain of command extends up to President Assad despite his recent televised denial of responsibility. It said it based the compilation on testimony from more than 60 defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division of the New York based group, said the report was released in Moscow in part to prod Russia to act on the Syrian abuses. “I hope that Russia and China will stop acting as the obstacles that they’ve been for the past several months on the Security Council. And the reason why we launched our report today from Moscow is to really challenge Russia’s leaders about their continued notion of relying on Assad to reform, and to really challenge them and confront them with the evidence of the crimes again humanity, the wide-spread, wide-scale campaign of killings and arrests and torture that the Syrian government has been responsible for," she said.

Whitson said the Security Council needs to refer the Syrian crackdown to the International Criminal Court, saying there is ample evidence not only of crimes committed but the individuals responsible.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid