News / Middle East

Ban Says Security Council Understands 'Urgency' of Syria Situation

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, his first stop on his Mideast tour, January 31, 2012.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, his first stop on his Mideast tour, January 31, 2012.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Security Council understands the "urgency" of the situation in Syria, as Arab and Western nations urge the Council to adopt a resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

After a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Wednesday, Ban said that all violence in Syria must stop.

"We cannot wait any longer until political process is finished, while many people are being killed.  While I fully support the political solution of this issue - that is quite advisable.  But first and foremost we have to take necessary action so that we will not lose any more human lives," Ban said.

Russia's European Union envoy said Wednesday he sees "no chance" of the Security Council adopting a resolution on Syria.

Vladimir Chizhov told Russia's Interfax news agency Wednesday that the proposal lacks a key provision ruling out military intervention.  His comments are at odds with those of British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who told the Council Tuesday that the resolution "does not call for military action and could not be used to authorize it."

Under the Moroccan-sponsored Arab-European draft, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would agree to halt the violence against anti-government demonstrators and give up power.  Syria has rejected the plan as a violation of its sovereignty.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Assad of stoking sectarian divisions.  She cited "clear" evidence that government forces "are initiating nearly all the attacks that kill civilians," and warned the country is heading toward civil war.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani warned the 15-nation body Tuesday that Syria's "killing machine is still at work."

Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari rejected the suggestion his government is responsible for the crisis and he accused the United States and its European allies of wanting to conquer new territory in the Middle East.  

The draft resolution endorses an Arab League plan requiring Assad to transfer power to his first deputy, Farouk al-Sharaa, and allow the creation of a unity government to prepare for elections under international supervision.

Russia has vowed to oppose any Security Council measure that it believes could give Western powers a pretext for military action.  Syria is a long-time Russian military ally that provides Moscow with a naval base on the Mediterranean and frequently buys Russian military supplies.

On the battlefront, activists in eastern districts of Damascus said troops backed by tanks advanced beyond areas vacated by the defector Free Syrian Army, capping three days of fighting that reports said killed at least 100 people.  Government forces have now recaptured most of the places that rebels had seized last week in the capital's eastern suburbs after several days of heavy fighting, mere kilometers from Assad's seat of power.

The Syrian government accuses armed terrorists of driving the anti-Assad revolt and killing 2,000 security personnel.   The United Nations estimated the death toll from the unrest at 5,400, earlier in January, before it stopped updating the figure because of difficulties in obtaining information.

 

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid