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Security Council condemns use of force against civilians in Syria

08-04-2011 09:20 BJT Special Report:Unrest in Syria |

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a presidential statement on Syria, condemning Syrian authorities' use of force against civilians and called on all parties to the conflict to stop the violence. Meanwhile, Lebanon, a non-permanent-member of the Council and Syria's neighbor, disassociated itself from the statement.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon talks to the media
after UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement on
Syria at the UN headquarters in New York, Aug. 3, 2011.
(Xinhua/Lin Qiong)

In the statement read out by Hardeep Singh Puri, Indian UN Ambassador and this month's Council President, the Council condemned "widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities."

It called for "an immediate end to all violence and urge all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions."

The statement also called on Syrian authorities to fully respect human rights and comply with international law in their activities.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Indian UN Ambassador and this month's Council President, attends the UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the UN headquarters in New York, Aug. 3, 2011. UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a presidential statement on Syria, condemning Syrian authorities' use of force against civilians and called on all parties to the conflict to stop the violence. Meanwhile, Lebanon, a non-permanent-member of the Council and Syria's neighbor, disassociated itself from the statement. (Xinhua/Lin Qiong)

The Council has previously failed to adopt a presidential statement or a resolution on the situation in Syria, which has been experiencing violence since mid-March.

Casualties have been recorded on both the side of the protesters and that of government security forces.

Caroline Ziade, deputy permanent representative of the Lebanese mission to the UN, told the Council after it adopted the statement that her country disassociated itself from the statement.

"Whatever affects Lebanon, affects Syria; whatever affects Syria will also affects Lebanon," she said.

"While we expect our deep regret for the loss of innocent victims and we offer our condolences to their families, we hope that Syrian reform will lead to progress and prosperity. But since Lebanon considers that the statement being discussed in our meeting today does not help in addressing the current situation in Syria therefore, Lebanon dissociates itself from this presidential statement," Ziade said.

The Council President Puri told reporters after the Council meeting that there are precedents in the Council that a delegation disassociated itself after the adoption of a presidential statement.

"There are precedents in the past. The council has in its work, in the 70s, in particular, adopted the format that was used today and the presidential statement was adopted and then following its adoption one delegation chose to disassociate itself," Puri said.

"The Council respects that right, but it is interesting that the expression of that disassociation came after the Council had approved the presidential statement," he told reporters.

A presidential statement is an official record of the Council but is non-binding and weaker than a resolution.

In the presidential statement, the council expressed "profound regret" for deaths in Syria and said that those who responsible for the violence should be held accountable.

The Syrian government has made commitments to carry out reforms. The Council noted this in the presidential statement but regretted the lack of progress towards reform thus far, and called upon the government to implement such commitments.

Shortly after the adoption, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement, welcoming the presidential statement and calling it "the clear message" of the international community, and urging the Syrian authorities to immediate cease of violence against their people.

The world has watched a deteriorating situation in Syria with the most profound concern but the events of the past few days have been brutally shocking, Ban told reporters outside the Security Council chamber.

"All killings should be investigated fully, independently and transparently. Those responsible should be held to account, " he said.

According to the presidential statement, the Council is stressing that the only solution in Syria is through "an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expressions and peaceful assembly."

The statement also said that the council would like Syrian authorities to "allow expeditious and unhindered access for international humanitarian agencies and workers" to Syria.

The Council called for full coordination between Syrian authorities and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and requested the Secretary-General to update the Council on the situation in Syria within seven days.

Ban said he will try to mobilize all possible United Nations agencies, and will fully cooperate with all international NGOs and other relevant agencies, to first of all gather information and monitor the situation from Wednesday until he makes the first report to the Security Council.

"You can count on me that I will do my best to make an immediate and impartial report to the Security Council, " Ban told reporters.

The head of OHCHR, Navi Pillay said on Tuesday that Syrian officials have refused to allow a UN fact-finding mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council as well as independent human rights groups into Syria.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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