News / Middle East

    UN Envoys Mum After Talks on Syria

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon, The Hague, Netherlands, April 8, 2013.
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon, The Hague, Netherlands, April 8, 2013.
    VOA News
    United Nations diplomats from the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain launched talks on Wednesday on a draft resolution from Britain calling for the world body to "do what is necessary" to protect civilians and prevent further attacks. 
     
    There was no comment on the proposal after diplomats left the meeting.
     
    Britain is pushing for a U.N. Security Council vote on the measure, a prelude to possible military action against Syria. 

    Military forces around SyriaMilitary forces around Syria
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    Military forces around Syria
    Military forces around Syria
    "We believe that it is time the United Nations Security Council shouldered its responsibilities on Syria, which for the last two and half years it has failed to do," said  Foreign Secretary William Hague, who accused the world body of foot-dragging.
     
    VOA's United Nations correspondent said the P-5 envoys had no comments after Wednesday's session and the diplomats for Russia and China left before the other envoys. Both nations have previously resisted U.N. efforts to penalize the Syrian regime for alleged abuses during its civil war.
     
    The proposed resolution is part of an international diplomatic effort by the U.S. and Western powers before possible military action against President Bashar al-Assad.
     
    UN probe

    A U.N. team conducting an on-site investigation of the alleged gas attack in suburban Damascus wrapped up its work for Wednesday, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team will need four days to complete its probe. 
     
    Ban is in The Hague, where he discussed efforts to convene a political conference on Syria with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadiy Gatilov. He also urged the U.N. Security Council to "find unity" on the situation in Syria.
     
    Syria denies accusations

    The Syrian government has denied having any role in last week's alleged gas attack, which left hundreds dead. 
     
    Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Maqdad blamed Western-backed 'terrorists' for the incidents.
     
    "Armed terrorist groups used Sarin gas in all these sites, and we repeat that the terrorist groups are the ones who used them with American, British and French encouragement. This encouragement should stop,'' he said.
     
    Syria's U.N. envoy, Bashar Ja'afari, called for the U.N. team to investigate what he said are three new allegations of poison gas use against troops. He also said if attacked, Syria had a "right to self defense." 
     
    In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said information from a variety of sources indicated the Syrian regime was responsible for chemical weapons attacks. He said any use of chemical weapons could "not go unanswered."
     

    Story contnues below photogallery
    • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
    • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
    • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, U.N. investigators gather potential evidence in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
    • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows Syrians moving a man who was allegedly exposed to chemical weapons to show him to U.N. investigators in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
    • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows U.N. investigators in a suburb of Damascus, August 28, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they escort U.N. vehicles carrying chemical weapons experts at the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters deploy in Aleppo's town of Khanasir after seizing it, August 26, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters inspect munitions and a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after they seized Khanasir, August 26, 2013.
    • A U.N. chemical weapons expert gathers evidence at site of an alleged poison gas attack in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
    • An image grab taken from a video posted by Syrian activists purportedly shows a U.N. inspector speaking to a man in a Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
    • U.N. chemical weapons experts visit a hospital where wounded people affected by a suspected gas attack are being treated, in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.

     
    Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: robert cullen from: louisville kentucky
    August 28, 2013 11:51 AM
    I don't see why Assad would have any reason to stage a gas attack when he knows it could invite US intervention. On the other hand I can why the opposition interests would have every reason to stage one.

    by: LE VAN from: VIETNAM
    August 28, 2013 11:49 AM
    sure. we should do something with Syria soon and right now, don't be late any more. over 100,000 died already. Where is US and Nato? America, England, France, Italy and Germany must lead the world.
    In Response

    by: Henry Northwood from: Cananda
    August 28, 2013 12:21 PM
    you are right.

    US absolutely did it right with Orang in Vietnam too.

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