Hague plea to UN over Syria unrest
Wednesday 01 February 2012
Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the United Nations to support moves led by the Arab League to bring a peaceful resolution to unrest in Syria.
Mr Hague made an impassioned plea at the UN Security Council in New York for action amid fears that Russia may block a draft resolution calling on the country's authoritarian leader Bashar Assad to step down and pave the way for a transfer of power.
Mr Hague said: “While we meet, the gravest of crimes are being committed in Syria. Responsibility for those crimes lies overwhelmingly at the door of the Syrian authorities ... We should unite behind the Arab League plan, and that is what I urge all members of the council to do, this week.”
There was no doubt that the violence was worsening, he said.
“Six thousand Syrians have died, in appalling circumstances, and this includes 384 children. Between 30 and 100 people currently die every single day from the violence in Syria, they will be dying as we speak, thousands more are enduring torture, imprisonment and sexual violence, including the rape of children.”
The risk of civil war was intensifying, and the threat to the stability of the region was growing.
“With each day that passes, finding a way back from the brink will be harder and innocent lives will be needlessly and wrongfully lost, deaths which this council could help to avert by acting in a united manner.”
The security council should remain seized of the situation in Syria, he said.
“To fail to do so would be to undermine the credibility of this institution, betray the Syrian people, snub the Arab League, and fail in this council's responsibilities.”
Western powers including Britain and France are pushing for the adoption of a resolution tabled by current security council member Morocco, which would give international backing to an Arab League timetable for the transition of power in Syria to a unity government, followed by free elections.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton stressed to the council that UN action in Syria would not involve military intervention, unlike the Nato-led efforts in Libya.
Russia has been resisting a swift vote, saying it wanted to “study the recommendations and conclusions of the observer mission in detail” before moving to a substantive discussion in the council.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Moscow would “never allow the security council to authorise anything similar to what happened in Libya”.
However, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin indicated in his address to the council that agreement could still be reached with more negotiation.
Mr Hague later told reporters that discussions would be held “with Russia and other nations” over the next 24 hours in a bid to “make progress on this resolution”.
Deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov last week signalled that Moscow may wield its veto to block the draft resolution in its current form. In October, Russia and China blocked a Western-backed draft resolution condemning Assad's government for its crackdown on protesters.
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...