Annan, Ban call on UN to act on Syria

2012-07-19 07:35

Geneva - UN chief Ban Ki-moon and international envoy Kofi Annan called on the UN Security Council to take strong action on the Syria conflict ahead of a vote on Thursday on a western-backed resolution calling for sanctions.

Russia and China are expected to veto the resolution at the 15-nation council despite mounting global concern over Syria after a Damascus bomb attack in which three close associates of President Bashar Assad were killed.

Ban said there was an "extreme urgency" for action to make government and opposition forces halt the violence.

Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy, said the council must take "decisive" action on the conflict after he persuaded the major powers to postpone the vote originally set for Wednesday.

"The deteriorating situation in Syria underscores the extreme urgency for all sides to stop armed violence in all its forms, implement the six point plan and move swiftly towards a political dialogue," Ban said in a statement.

Ban "strongly condemns" the Damascus bomb attack in which Defence Minister General Daoud Rajha and two other top members of Assad's entourage were killed, said the statement released by his office.

No new proposals

He expressed concern about the use of "heavy weapons by Syrian security forces" and urged the Security Council "to shoulder its responsibility and take collective and effective action on the basis of UN Charter obligations and in view of the seriousness of the situation".

Annan intervened just ahead of a scheduled vote on the western resolution on Wednesday to get it delayed. But with no new diplomatic proposals emerging, a new vote was called for Thursday.

The UN-Arab League envoy "urged members of the Security Council to unite and take concerted and strong action that would help stem the bloodshed in Syria and build momentum for a political transition", said his spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi.

Annan believes the latest violence "only underscores the urgency of decisive council action".

But Russia maintained a threat to veto any resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama spoke by telephone, but failed to overcome differences over the conflict.

Two resolutions vetoed

"We cannot accept Chapter VII and the section about sanctions," Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Wednesday.

Russia and China, using their powers as permanent council members, have twice vetoed previous resolutions hinting at sanctions against Damascus.

The British resolution, backed by the United States, France, Germany and Portugal, calls for non-military sanctions under Chapter VII if Assad does not withdraw heavy weapons from Syrian cities in 10 days.

"We will be voting tomorrow morning," said Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

"We have very clearly said to our Russian and Chinese friends, we are ready to negotiate," said France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud.

"It is a Chapter VII resolution with a threat of sanctions. We consider the situation is serious enough in Damascus and in Syria that we move towards this goal," he told reporters.

17 000 killed

"We want to give diplomacy a chance but there has to be meaningful engagement on the side of Russia and China with our resolution," Germany's UN envoy Peter Wittig told reporters.

The mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) ends on Friday and without a resolution, the UN may have to hurriedly withdraw the nearly 300 unarmed observers now in Damascus.

More than 17 000 people have been killed since an uprising against Assad began 16 months ago, activists say.

  • atha.georgiades - 2012-07-19 08:51

    It is clear from the actions of USA and its uppet states Uk, France, Germany etc. do not have the interest of the Syrian people at heart and will do anything to force another illegal regime change. Russia and China are the ones who are acting responsibly by demanding that both sides in the Syrian conflict lay down arms and negotiate a settlement. The only reason the USA and its cronies want to remove the Assad government is because it does not support the colonisation of the Middle East by the USA.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-19 09:46

      I'm sure it has nothing to do with a hereditory dictator running riot in his country , Turkey taking the slack of a refugee influx , the humanitarian crisis , destruction of infrastructure and homes by army shelling , the recognition of civil war status , massacres in the various cities ,dismissal of UN-Arab league efforts ect but Russia continuing to send arms , attack gunships to the Assad govt is the best solution to the crisis.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-19 15:13

      Another person who is unwittingly enabling the wholesale slaughter of Muslims by unelected dictators and Jihadists. Sad. Tragic really.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-19 09:11

    I am struggling to understand these people who are horrified at the violence in Syria, but who's 'remedy' seems to be, in effect, an escalation of it, who have a vested interest in claiming to want to stop the killing while deliberately stirring it up.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-19 09:19

      Calling for heavy weapons to be moved out of cities they are pounding , wow , what a call for the escalation of violence. We have seen what Kofi and his toothless diplomacy brought .

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-19 09:30

      AGAIN, you got it wrong!! The whole world, except your heroes, Russia and China, is now demanding that this assad terrorist either steps down , or to be removed !! THAT will stop 95 % of the violence, like it did in Egypt and in Libya!! But the problem is, that you don't want this DICTATOR/TYRANT/MASS MURDERER to leave !!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-19 10:10

      History tells us that without a ceasefire the conflict will grow and grow. You expect Assad's military to withdraw to barracks while foreign backed armed militias and terrorists are still attacking and causing destabilisation in Syria. That would be dereliction of duty.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-19 11:07

      Fidel, Forget about YOUR history !! Egypt and Libya have shown that, once the tyrant is gone, WITHIN HOURS most of the violence will stop !!!

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-07-19 12:00

      Fidel is going to choke when the "terrorists" run over Assad and his cronies. the clock is ticking. and when that happens it will be obvious to even Muppet Fidel that it was the will of the people, because a couple of "terrorists" would not have been able to crush that whole government. IT WOULD BE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF SYRIA.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-19 15:16

      The immature anti-West core belief that Fidel chooses to hold is what makes him struggle to see what is really happening. He unwittingly support the murder, detention, rape and torture of Syrians WANTING TO VOTE by an UNELECTED DICTATOR. He does not know he's doing this, and defends his delusion vociferously.

  • ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-07-19 11:56

    Everyone (Ban, Annan, the West etc) will be talking about taking "urgent action" even after its all over and Assad is gone. theres been loads of talk between all parties right through the conflict, for almost a year. but during this time the opposition have continued make gains ALL ON THEIR OWN. so maybe the Russians, Chinese and West should just sit back and drink some tea, because its soon going to be over anyway, irrespective of them. I admire the West for trying, but unfortunately they had to deal with constant vetoes by the Russians and Chinese.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-19 15:20

      It has been a massive dereliction of responsibility by the freer world. It has the strongest military alliance on the planet, and left Syrians to battle the cruel "bloody surgeon of Syria" who's has control of the Syrian state and its military. Obama has turned out to be a self-centered politician more interested in his re-election than helping Syrians and their families literally being butchered in their homes.

  • pages:
  • 1