News

    West, UN Call for Strong, Unified Security Council on Syria

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flank U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, at United Nations headquarters, March 12, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flank U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, at United Nations headquarters, March 12, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer

    Western leaders repeated their call on Monday for Russia and China to support a strong United Nations Security Council resolution to end the violence in Syria, where scores of people have been wounded or killed daily. The appeal came during a high-level meeting on the impact and opportunities of the Arab Spring, which was overshadowed by the Syrian crisis.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led the call, telling the 15-nation Security Council it is essential that the organization’s most powerful body speak with one voice, particularly in light of the continued "shameful operations" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army.

    The United Nations and the Arab League recently appointed former U.N. chief Kofi Annan as a joint special envoy on Syria.  Annan traveled to Damascus recently, holding two days of talks with Assad.  

    Ban said his predecessor conveyed "concrete proposals" to Assad, urging him to take steps to immediately end the violence, address the humanitarian crisis and begin a peaceful, inclusive, Syrian-led political process.

    "I add my voice to that of Mr. Annan in urging President Assad to act swiftly, within the next few days, in response to the proposals put forward by the Joint Special Envoy.  I appeal to the Security Council to unite strongly behind ending the violence and supporting Mr. Annan’s mission to help Syria pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe," Ban said.

    Russia and China have used their Security Council veto twice during the past five months to block action against Damascus, saying that the West and some Arab states are seeking regime change in Syria.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Security Council’s silence is not an option in the face of a government’s massacre of its own people, and she urged Moscow and Beijing to support action against Syria.

    "We believe that now is the time for all nations, even those who have previously blocked our efforts, to stand behind the humanitarian and political approach spelled out by the Arab League.  The international community should say with one voice - without hesitation or caveat - that the killings of innocent Syrians must stop and a political transition must begin," Clinton said.

    In a rare rebuke for a close ally, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Syrian "authorities bear a huge share of responsibility for the current situation."  He said Moscow wants to see an immediate end to the violence, a cease-fire and access for relief workers.  But Lavrov warned against international action that could escalate the crisis.  He is heard here through a translator:

    "Making hasty demands for regime change, imposing unilateral sanctions designed to trigger economic difficulties and social tensions in countries, inducing the opposition to continue its confrontation with authorities instead of promoting dialogue, making calls in support of armed confrontation and even to foreign military intervention - all of the above are risky recipes of "geopolitical engineering" that can only result in the spread of conflict," Lavrov said.

    Lavrov said that during his meeting with Arab League ministers on Saturday in Cairo, they agreed to five points for settling the crisis:  the end of violence from all sources, an impartial monitoring mechanism, no outside interference, unimpeded humanitarian access and strong support for Kofi Annan's mission to launch a political dialogue.

    The American and Russian chief diplomats met privately on the sidelines of Monday’s meeting.  Secretary Clinton told reporters that she pointed to the Russian foreign minister that the alternative to Security Council unity on Syria is a bloody, internal conflict with dangerous consequences for the entire region.

    Britain, which chaired Monday's meeting as Security Council president this month, and France, warned that those who have perpetrated crimes against the Syrian people would not do so with impunity, saying that the groundwork should begin to be prepared for a case at the International Criminal Court.

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.