UN Security Council resumes consultations on Syria

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The UN Security Council has resumed consultations on Syria.

A delegation of Western countries distributed an updated draft resolution on Monday to condemn the Syrian government for suppressing the opposition protests. Diplomats said that another draft was presented later.

Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for the Middle East and North Africa Sergei Vershinin said that Russia opposed measures, which did not help peace settlement in Syria.

“We strongly oppose everything that does not help the peace process. Any unbalanced steps – sanctions or pressure – are bad for the attainment of our goal of the prevention of bloodshed and the broadening of democracy,” he said.

“The UN Security Council started consultations on Syria yesterday. The consultations will continue tomorrow. The question is how the Security Council will react to the events in that country; it could be either a statement or a resolution. The most important is to prevent steps that may exacerbate the situation,” he said.

“We have plenty of like-minded partners at the UN Security Council, among them BRICS members. The Libyan experience should be taken into account,” he said. “The Syrian president and government retain a serious potential for holding the reforms. Laws are being drafted. From this point of view and with due account of the prospective inter-Syrian dialog, it is possible to ensure normal and democratic development of the country,” he said.

Diplomats say that Brazil, India, China and South Africa share the position of Russia.

The UN human rights chief said she was concerned about the killing of at least 145 people in demonstrations in Syria during the past four days and called for an end to the bloodshed, warning the country’s authorities that the world is bearing witness to the brutality against civilians.

“The Government has been trying to keep the world blind about the alarming situation in the country by refusing access to foreign journalists, independent human rights groups and to the fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“But they are not succeeding. The world is watching and the international community is gravely concerned. I stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters who are demanding that the persistent violation of their human rights ends now. I also stand in solidarity with the families of all the victims who have lost their lives since the crackdown began, and condemn in the strongest terms the reprehensible violence this Government is using against its own people.”

“I again urge the Government to allow the fact-finding mission into the country to assess the situation first-hand,” she added.

“It is high time that we work towards accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations in Syria in recent months,” said Pillay. “There is a need for an international, transparent, independent and prompt investigation into the violence, the killings, the excessive use of force, the arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment and torture that the people of Syria have been subjected to,” she added.

The UN Security Council’s approval of tough sanctions on the Syrian government will be quite natural, Chairman of the Federation Council International Affairs Committee Mikhail Margelov told Itar-Tass.

“The international community is extremely concerned about violence in that Arab country. That is proven with the urgent meeting of the UN Security Council convened by request of Germany,” he said.

In Margelov’s words, ”patience of Security Council members is stretched too thin. They will hardly discuss the soonest military interference of the Libya type, but harsh condemnations may be followed with stricter sanctions.”

The Syrian administration “has reached a limit in the bloodshed accompanying the suppression of the opposition,” he said. “Tank attacks on compatriots and people of the same belief, which are impermissible any time, look particularly outraging in the time of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam.”

Margelov noted that the opposition was not homogeneous and included radical political forces amongst others. The protesters “wanted democratic transformations, at least in the beginning,” he said, adding that the Syrian administration preferred a war against civilian population to long needed reforms. “That is an obvious sign of the weakness of the regime, its fear of change and an open dialog of the opposition,” he said.

Such actions of Damascus “stir up tensions, and hopes for political settlement vanish with every new attack of governmental tanks and infantry,” Margelov said. “With the armed reprisals, President Bashar al-Asad has caused the founded indignation about the regime and himself inside and outside the country.”

In the modern times, such regimes “are doomed, either tomorrow or in the foreseeable prospect,” he said.


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