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Ban slams UN Council’s failure on Syria resolution


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
AFP, United Nations, 5 Oct 2011 - UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday the United Nations has a ‘moral obligation’ to end violence in Syria as he criticized the Security Council’s failure to pass a resolution on the crisis.
Russia and China vetoed a European draft resolution that would have threatened possible action against President Bashar al-Assad, but European powers said they would not give up the campaign.
‘The secretary general regrets that the Security Council has not been able to agree and hopes that it will overcome its divisions,’ UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said of the failed resolution.
Ban again condemned the Syria violence as ‘unacceptable’ and called on the international powers ‘to speak and act in a coherent manner.’
‘He believes we have a moral obligation to prevent further bloodshed and help the people of Syria out of this dangerous crisis,’ Nesirky told reporters.
According to the UN, more than 2,700 people have died in the crackdown on protests in Syria over the past seven months. Ban himself has said that Assad has ‘lost all humanity’.
Following the lost vote at an angry UN Security Council meeting late Tuesday, the British, French and German foreign ministers all said new pressure would be put on the Syrian government. Russia defended its veto of the much-softened resolution which had been backed by nine of the 15 members.
Russia and China used their veto as permanent members of the Security Council, rejecting any hint of sanctions against Syria. Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa abstained.
The meeting ended in acrimony with US ambassador Susan Rice leading her delegation out after Syria’s ambassador said the United States was linked to ‘genocide’.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague called the double veto ‘deeply mistaken and regrettable.’
‘We will redouble our efforts to work with other nations to increase the pressure on the regime wherever we can, and we assure the people of Syria that they will not be forgotten,’ Hague said.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, whose country had drawn up the resolution, called the vote ‘a sad day’ for the Security Council.
‘The Syrian democrats’ struggle for freedom is a just struggle. France will continue to support it firmly, along with all those countries that so wish,’ he said.
‘Germany will continue to push, both internationally and especially within the European Union, for a clear position and pressure on the Syrian regime,’ declared German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
With no end in sight to the Syria bloodshed, envoys said more action could be taken.
‘The crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council. We will not rest until the council rises to meet its responsibilities,’ said Rice.
Russia defended its veto decision and its links with Assad’s government.
‘We are not advocates of the Bashar al-Assad regime at all,’ Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the vote.
‘We are talking to the government in Damascus in a very demanding tone of voice, telling them what needs to be done in order to get out of this crisis,’ he added, denying that his country was taking sides with Assad.
Churkin highlighted fears that the resolution could be used for military action against Syria. Russia, China and others still accuse NATO of abusing UN resolutions on Libya to launch air strikes this year.
‘Let there be no doubt: this is not about military intervention,’ responded the US ambassador. ‘This is not about Libya. That is a cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.’
China’s foreign ministry strongly rejected the European resolution as an attempt to ‘blindly impose pressure’ on Syria.


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