Saturday, September 28, 2013

UN Security Council agrees to rid Syria of chemical weapons. Endorses peace process. (4 video UN 27/9/13)

27 September 2013 – In the wake of an August chemical attack in Syria which a United Nations team later confirmed had killed hundreds of civilians, the Security Council on Friday called for the elimination of the country’s chemical weapons, while endorsing a diplomatic plan for Syrian-led negotiations toward peace.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2118 (2013), the Council called for the speedy implementation of procedures drawn up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof.”

In the text, the Council underscored “that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons.”
Defiance of the resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, would bring about measures under the UN Charter’s binding Chapter VII, which can include sanctions or stronger coercive action, the Council said.
The 15-member body added that it would work with the OPCW in deploying a chemical weapons “monitoring and destruction team” – expecting the full cooperation of the Syrian Government – and it appealed to UN Member States for support, including personnel, expertise, funding and equipment.
It also authorized Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, in a way consistent with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the interest of non-proliferation.
“Today’s historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council following the adoption. “For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response.
“Tonight, the international community has delivered,” he stated.
“As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns,” Mr. Ban added. “A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons. All the violence must end. All the guns must fall silent.”
Earlier today, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said that the UN team led by Swedish scientist ?ke Sellström has been able to resume its fact-finding activities related to all pending credible allegations of chemical weapons use, following its return to Syria this week.
Those allegations include, he said, the 19 March incident at Khan al-Asal, reported first by Syria and subsequently by other Member States. As previously agreed with Syria, the other allegations to be investigated include the 13 April incident at Sheikh Maqsud, reported by the United States, and the 29 April incident at Saraqueb, reported by France and the United Kingdom.
In addition, he said, the mission has continued to follow-up with the Government of Syria and to evaluate information it has provided on three additional allegations, including the incidents at Bahhariyeh on 22 August, at Jobar on 24 August, and at Sahnaya on 25 August.
The team, assisted by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the OPCW, visited the country last month and found “clear and convincing evidence” that Sarin gas was used in an incident that occurred on 21 August in the Ghouta area on the outskirts of Damascus in which hundreds of people were reportedly killed.
Under the General Assembly-approved guidelines, the spokesperson recalled, the mission is obliged to evaluate all available information related to all allegations reported by Member States, for the purpose of preparing its final report.
Also in today’s resolution, the Council endorsed a plan for a Syrian-led process, with participation of all parties, to end the conflict, which has claimed over 100,000 lives since it began in March 2011 and has led to over 2 million people fleeing the country, with some 4 million internally displaced.
It also called for convening, as soon as possible, an international peace conference that is fully representative of the Syrian people.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Ban said the aim is to hold the conference in mid-November. “The United Nations is ready to host Geneva II. It is time for the parties to focus on how to build the peaceful, democratic future Syria needs. All those with influence on the parties must use that influence now. It is crucial to keep up the momentum.
“Today can and must be a stepping stone to peace.”

  • Lavrov: UN SC resolution on Syria’s CW does not allow for automatic coercion

UNITED NATIONS, September 28 (Itar-Tass) - The just-adopted UN Security Council’s resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons does not allow for the automatic use of measures of coercion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday after the 15-member Security Council unanimously voted for the document.
“The resolution does not fall under the operation of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and it does not envisage any automatic mechanism of using measures of coercion. It reiterates the agreement achieved at the Russian-US meeting in Geneva to the effect that any violations of its requirements, just as the use of chemical weapons by whatever party, should become a matter of close consideration by the UN Security Council, which would be prepared to take action under Chapter 7 of the Charter,” Lavrov explained. “All measures by the SC will be proportionate to the gravity of the offenses, which are to be proven with 100-percent certainty.”
Lavrov said the responsibility for complying with the resolution rested not only on the Syrian government.
“Under SC requirements the Syrian Opposition is expected to cooperate with international experts, too,” he said.
Also, Lavrov pointed to the special responsibility placed on the countries that support the rebels.
“They are obliged to rule out the risk extremists may lay hands on chemical weapons,” he said.
When it joined the chemical weapons ban convention in the middle of September, Syria in fact began to act on its commitments by presenting to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons a detailed declaration describing the condition of its chemical arsenal,” Lavrov said. Moscow proceeds from the assumption Damascus will continue to interact with the international inspectors “constructively and diligently.”
As Lavrov said, Russia proceeds from the assumption that the work of UN and OPCW experts in Syria will proceed professionally and impartially and with full respect for that country’s sovereignty. “Russia will be prepared to participate in all components of the forthcoming mission in Syria and will be actively and closely involved in preparations for the Geneva-2 conference.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Geneva-2 was due in the middle of November. The need for convening it at an early date is emphasized in the just-adopted UN SC resolution 2118.
As Lavrov said, “it is fundamentally important the resolution establishes the framework for overcoming the Syrian crisis by political and diplomatic means.”
“It approves without any reservations the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012 as a settlement platform,” Lavrov said.
He voiced the hope that “the ever more fragmented groups of the Syrian Opposition” will follow in the footsteps of the Syrian government to declare their readiness to participate in the international conference without any preconditions.
“We are urging the Opposition’s sponsors to put the necessary pressures on them,” he said.
Lavrov pointed to the benefits which the whole region would derive from the implementation of the plan for eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons.
“It will bring closer the solution of the old-time problem of turning the Middle East into a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and the delivery vehicles,” Lavrov said.


  1. Lavrov: UN SC resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons matches Russian-US agreements...

    UNITED NATIONS, September 28 (Itar-Tass) - The just-adopted UN Security Council’s resolution on Syria “fully matches” the agreements between Russia and the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday after the voting in the UN Security Council.

    Lavrov said the resolution was not subject to the operation of Chapter 7 of the UN Security Council and did not allow for the automatic use of any means of compulsion.

  2. UN Approves Resolution on Syria Disarmament...

    The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that requires Syria to eliminate its arsenal of chemical weapons. The resolution places binding obligations on the nation.

    The vote late Friday by the 15-member council ended weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States. It is based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier this month following a sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

    The U.S.-Russia deal averted punitive U.S. military action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which Washington blamed for the August attack

    The decision comes after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons approved a plan that outlines the timeline for cataloging and ultimately destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    Earlier Friday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told VOA Syria will support the resolution "as long as it is according to our commitment when we joined the agreement." He said the Syrian government is "seriously committed to fulfill[ing] our obligations."

    On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama called the resolution a "huge victory" for the international community. He said it is a "legally binding" and "verifiable" initiative that threatens consequences if Syria does not adhere to conditions.

    The resolution calls for inspections within 30 days at all chemical weapons sites declared by Syria's government. International experts are supposed to begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal by Tuesday.

    The resolution also requires Assad to give up his chemical weapons by mid-2014.

    In violence Friday, activists said a car bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens in the town of Rankus, just north of Damascus. Rankus is a Sunni town in a region mostly under control of rebels trying to overthrow Assad's government.

    The conflict in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people.

  3. El Consejo de Seguridad aprueba por unanimidad el desarme químico de Siria....

    1. La resolución adoptada este viernes no incluye medidas automáticas de castigo
    2. El texto deja a Moscú, que se opone a las sanciones, como árbitro en caso de incumplimiento

    La resolución que el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU ha aprobado este viernes por unanimidad para el desmantelamiento del arsenal químico de Siria no incluye medidas automáticas de castigo, ni económico ni militar, en el caso de que el régimen de Bachar el Asad incumpla con las demandas de la comunidad internacional, lo que deja a Rusia, que se opone a las sanciones, como el árbitro de lo que finalmente acabe ocurriendo en ese país.

    La votación se produjo una vez que la Organización para la Prohibición de las Armas Químicas, con sede en La Haya, dio el visto bueno al plan de trabajo de los inspectores internacionales, que podrían llegar la próxima semana a Damasco para comenzar a investigar el material químico que el Gobierno tiene almacenado. La resolución fue aprobada en Nueva York, una vez que los cinco miembros permanentes del Consejo de Seguridad –Estados Unidos, China, Rusia, Reino Unido y Francia- llegaron el jueves a un acuerdo sobre el texto que se sometió a consideración del máximo órgano ejecutivo de Naciones Unidas.

    Ese texto incluye la posibilidad de que los países “puedan decidir medidas bajo el Capítulo VII de la Carta de la ONU”, pero añade que eso requeriría previamente una nueva votación en el Consejo de Seguridad, donde Rusia, como los demás miembros permanentes, tiene derecho de veto.

    Esta ha sido la fórmula encontrada después de diez días de negociaciones entre los representantes de Rusia, que se oponía a las sanciones automáticas, y los de los países occidentales, que eran favorables. Finalmente, éstos han cedido ante el riesgo de dar al traste con el acuerdo suscrito hace dos semanas por el secretario de Estado norteamericano, John Kerry, y el ministro ruso de Relaciones Exteriores, Serguei Lavrov.

    La resolución le da naturaleza de ley internacional a ese pacto y establece un mandato claro para que Asad ponga a disposición de los inspectores sus armas químicas. Evidentemente, eso crea un entorno legal y político del que el régimen sirio no puede escapar sin caer en una flagrante violación de la voluntad internacional. Pero, en última instancia, en caso de que el proceso de inspecciones se vea interrumpido –lo que puede ocurrir por múltiples razones- quedará en manos de Rusia decidir cómo se reacciona.....

  4. The adopted resolution calls for consequences if inspectors decide that Syria has failed to fulfill its obligations. The nature of the reaction, however, will depend on another resolution which would have to be passed in the event of non-compliance.....

    The resolution does not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and does not allow any automatic enforcement of coercive measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the Security Council vote.

    The UN Security Council resolution on chemical weapons in Syria will have to be observed not only by the Syrian authorities, but also by the opposition, Lavrov stressed.

    "The responsibility for the implementation of this resolution does not only lie on the government of Syria," he said.

    The chemical weapons resolution on Syria establishes a framework for overcoming the ongoing political crisis. According to Lavrov, the Syrian opposition is also obliged to work with international experts as required by the Security Council resolution.

    "We hope that more and more scattered groups of the Syrian opposition will finally be able – as the Syrian government has already done for a long time – to declare its readiness to participate in an international conference without preconditions,” Lavrov said.

    The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, however, stated in his speech that only the “Assad regime carries the burden of meeting the terms of this agreement," telling the international community that inspections will begin by November.

    “Syria cannot select or reject the inspectors. Syria must give those inspectors unfettered access to any and all sites and any and all people," he said, adding that the weapons should be destroyed by mid-2014.

    He also warned that "should the regime fail to act, there will be consequences.”

    ”This resolution makes clear that those responsible for this heinous act must be held accountable,” said Kerry.

    French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, has also put all the blame and responsibility on the Syrian government, saying it is “clear all the evidence points to the regime and no one of good faith can deny this.”

    “France as others especially the United States of America took its responsibilities, and we consider that standing firm has paid off,” he said, suggesting that only the threat of imminent military action forced President Assad to give up his chemical weapons stockpiles......

  5. Ban Ki-moon: la resolución sobre las armas químicas "no es licencia para matar con otras armas"....

    En su intervención Ban, destacó la responsabilidad que asumía una comunidad internacional que "tiene que velar porque estas armas no vuelvan a aparecer".

    El Secretario General de la ONU agregó que "los horrores de combate continúan con otras armas. Esto no es una licencia para matar con otras armas", para lo que "hay que aprovechar la renovada unidad del Consejo de Seguridad".

    El canciller ruso, Serguei Lavrov, destacó la importancia de que Damasco muestre "verdadera disponibilidad" a partir de ahora y advirtió que "el uso de armas quimicas por cualquiera de las partes tendrá que ser estudiado por Consejo de Seguridad" para "tomar medidas" siempre que esté "cien por ciento chequeado"......

  6. UN experts may fail to visit all places subjected to chemical weapons attacks in Syria...

    UN chemical weapons experts will not be able to visit all seven locations that were allegedly subjected to chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

    On Friday, the UN said the visit would end on Monday.
    Read more:

  7. UN Chief Meets with Syrian Opposition Leader...

    UNITED NATIONS, September 29 (RIA Novosti) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon has met with the leader of Syria’s main opposition group, Ahmad Jarba, and asked him to agree with other opposition forces to select a person who would represent the opposition at the upcoming Geneva conference in November, the UN has reported.

    Jarba leads the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in Syria.

    “The Secretary-General welcomed Mr. al-Jarba's commitment to send a delegation to the Geneva Conference, and urged the National Coalition to reach out to other opposition groups and agree on a representative and united delegation,” the UN reported on its website Saturday following the meeting.

    “He stressed the paramount importance of embarking on serious dialogue as soon as possible, as well as the need to ensure accountability for war crimes,” the statement said.

    Ban said Friday the United Nations aims to hold an international peace conference on Syria in mid-November. Both the Syrian government and opposition are invited to take part.

    More than 100,000 people have died in Syria over two years of fighting between government and opposition forces, according to UN estimates.

    The UN Security Council unanimously passed a draft resolution on Friday, imposing binding obligations on the Syrian government to eliminate its chemical weapons program for the first time since unrest began there in March 2011.

  8. Syrie: l'opposition doit déposer les armes avant de négocier (Assad)...

    Les autorités syriennes sont prêtes à négocier avec l'opposition anti-Assad dans le cadre de la conférence dite Genève-2 à condition que cette dernière dépose les armes, a déclaré dimanche le président syrien Bachar el-Assad dans une interview à la chaîne italienne RaiNews24.

    "Si des rebelles sont armés, il ne s'agit pas de l'opposition, mais de terroristes (…). S'ils déposent les armes, nous serons prêts à dialoguer avec eux", a indiqué le dirigeant syrien.

    Dans le même temps, M.Assad a assuré que son gouvernement respecterait l'ensemble des exigences avancées par l'Onu au sujet de ses arsenaux chimiques.

    En mai 2013, les chefs de diplomatie russe et américaine Sergueï Lavrov et John Kerry ont convenu à Moscou d'organiser une nouvelle conférence internationale sur le règlement du conflit syrien. Ce forum doit faire suite à celui de Genève tenu le 30 juin 2012. La nouvelle conférence - baptisée "Genève-2" - se tiendra aussi dans cette ville suisse.

    Samedi, le secrétaire général des Nations unies Ban Ki-moon a déclaré que la conférence Genève-2 devrait se tenir à la mi-novembre.

  9. Syrian envoy Brahimi has doubts over the convening of Geneva II...

    Al Arabiya
    The U.N.’s special representative to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya on Sunday said that the convening of the Geneva II conference is not certain. He added, however, that if it does take place it will revive talks for a political transition in war-torn Syria.

    Brahimi also said that although it has been announced that Geneva II will be held by mid-November, the exact date has not yet been agreed.

    The U.N. envoy to Syria said the expected meeting in Switzerland aims to implement the the platform of Geneva I and its June 30, 2012 declaration.

    This declaration calls for a transitional government to be set up, made up of members of the current government and the opposition. It called for the new government to have full executive powers, including control over the country’s armed forces and security forces.

    In this exclusive interview with Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj, Brahimi said that the Geneva II meeting will differ from its predecessor as both the government and the Syrian opposition will participate by sending separate delegations. There will also be the possibility of inviting Iran.

    Brahmi added that it would be beneficial to the situation if Iran takes part in this critical conference, but confirmed that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the Arab League secretary-general and other Arab countries will be invited.

    Syria’s main opposition group has announced its rejection of the proposed Iranian presence, saying that Iran is a main-backer of President Bashar al-Assad and is participating in the killing of Syrian people.

    Brahimi stated that both the Syrian government and opposition should attend the conference without setting any preconditions and added that he would like to see one delegation representing the opposition including all its various parties.

    Brahimi welcomed the concept of humanitarian corridors, which were earlier proposed by France to provide aid to the civilian population in Syria......

  10. Ban calls on Syrian opposition forces to send united delegation to peace conference...

    29 September 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the National Coalition for the Syrian opposition forces to reach out to other groups and agree on a united delegation for an upcoming peace conference, as he met with the President of the Coalition on Saturday.

    During the meeting in New York, the Secretary-General welcomed Ahmad al-Jarba's commitment to send a delegation to the conference, which is expected to take place in mid-November in Geneva and aims to resolve the conflict that is now in its third year.

    Mr. Ban “urged the National Coalition to reach out to other opposition groups and agree on a representative and united delegation,” according to a readout of the meeting issued by his spokesperson.

    He also stressed the paramount importance of embarking on serious dialogue as soon as possible, as well as the need to ensure accountability for war crimes, it added.

    The conflict, which began in March 2011, has claimed over 100,000 lives, sent more than 2 million people fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries and displaced 4 million within Syria.

    In the meeting, Mr. Ban underlined the suffering of the Syrian people on all sides, as a result of the conflict, and also the hardship of the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.

  11. UN chemical weapons inspectors end mission in Syria...

    UNITED NATIONS, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - United Nations chemical weapons inspectors have ended their mission in Syria. Now they will analyze information they collected in tha country on the use of poisonous substances, U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told journalists on Monday.

    According to Nesirky, the final report will be ready by late October.

    Inspections of Syria’s chemical arsenals will start on Tuesday. However he refused to specify the exact time when the operation would begin.

    The team of inspectors will include experts from the United Nations Organization and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

  12. UN beginnt Vernichtung von syrischen Chemiewaffen...

    Mitten im syrischen Bürgerkrieg haben UN-Inspektoren am Sonntag mit der Zerstörung von Chemiewaffen begonnen. Bis Mitte 2014 sollen alle im Land vorhandenen Kampfstoffe vernichtet sein.

    Die UN-Inspektoren haben in Syrien mit der Zerstörung von Chemiewaffen und Produktionsstätten der Kampfstoffe begonnen. Das teilte am Sonntag ein Mitarbeiter der Vereinten Nationen mit. Was genau bereits zerstört worden sei, konnte der UN-Vertreter allerdings nicht sagen. Noch am Sonntag würden jedoch sowohl Waffen als auch Ausrüstung zur Herstellung von Waffen außer Betrieb genommen, hieß es.

    Die ersten UN-Inspektoren waren am Dienstag in Syrien eingetroffen und richteten einen Stützpunkt in Damaskus ein. Das Team besteht insgesamt aus 19 Inspektoren und 14 UN-Angestellten. Ihre Aufgabe ist es, bis zum 1. November Syriens Produktionskapazitäten für Chemiewaffen zu demontieren und bis Mitte 2014 die vorhandenen Kampfstoffe zu vernichten.

    Die Mission der Chemiewaffeninspektoren wird von einer Resolution des UN-Sicherheitsrats unterstützt, der die Vernichtung der syrischen Chemiewaffenbestände beschlossen hat. Bei einem Giftgaseinsatz nahe Damaskus am 21. August kamen Hunderte Zivillisten ums Leben. Während die USA das Assad-Regime als Urheber des Angriffs ausgemacht haben, zweifelt Russland dessen Urheberschaft an und verdächtigt syrische Rebellen, das Giftgas eingesetzt zu haben. Nachdem US-Präsident Barack Obama zunächst mit einem Militärschlag gedroht hatte, kam dann unter russischer Vermittlung die UN-Resolution zustande, die eine Vernichtung der Chemiewaffen vorsieht......

  13. Turkish FM Davutoğlu chides Kerry over US praise for al-Assad...

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has reproached his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, for recent remarks praising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for quickly complying with a resolution to destroy Damascus’ chemical weapons.

    “Anyone who speaks about Syria should not say anything elsewhere that they wouldn’t be able to say when looking into the faces of Syrian refugees who are suffering,” Davutoğlu said on Oct. 8, speaking during a press conference with his Danish counterpart, Villy Sovndal.

    “It is not possible to find a solution to the Syrian crisis unless we feel the same with the Syrian refugees when someone says the Syrian regime deserves credit,” he added, when asked about Kerry’s recent remarks.

    Touching on Turkey’s support for a recent deal on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, the minister said he “openly discusses” the issues with Kerry, while underlining that he had a “close, friendly relationship” with the U.S. secretary of state.

    “Any discourse that does not address the hearts of the Syrian refugees will not bring peace; on the contrary, it will raise offensiveness ... will egg on an offensive regime to stage more attacks just after chemical weapons were used,” he said.

    Davutoğlu referred to pictures of dead children due to recent chemical attack in Syria and stressed that many world leaders, including Kerry, had seen them. “We don’t think those who are responsible for the attack deserve any praise,” he added.

    Davutoğlu also warned against the risks if the international community lost its decisive stance against the Syrian government.

    The U.S. secretary of state praised al-Assad on Oct. 7 for beginning to destroy chemical weapons in Syria just a week after a U.N. Security Council resolution was passed on the matter.

    “I think it’s also credit to the al-Assad regime for complying rapidly, as they are supposed to. Now, we hope that will continue. I’m not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road, but it’s a good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning,” Kerry said.

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu also once again refuted allegations that Turkey was supporting the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front fighting in Syria.

    “Turkey has never allowed al-Qaeda-linked groups … to cross its borders,” he said. “No one should bring this allegation, as Turkey is one of the countries fighting against terrorism.”

  14. UN Inspectors Checked Half of Syria Chemical Sites: OPCW...

    Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said its inspectors have checked 11 out of 20 Syrian chemical sites.

    "The OPCW mission has now conducted verification activities at a total of 11 sites that are identified by Syria's disclosure," the Hague-based Organization said on Wednesday.

    The OPCW has said that there are a total of 20 sites to be visited in Syria.
    Since inspectors arrived in the country two weeks ago, activities have also included "critical equipment destruction at six sites as well as some Category 3 weapons destruction", the organization added in a statement.

    The chemical watchdog, which last week was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, classifies Category 3 as "unfilled munitions and devices and other equipment specifically designed to aid the deployment of chemical weapons".

    The OPCW and the United Nations now have about 60 experts working in Syria to eradicate chemical weapons, around a month after the OPCW accepted Damascus’ application to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  15. (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, in an unprecedented show of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues, said on Friday it would not take up its seat on the United Nations Security Council.....

    The kingdom condemned what it called international double standards on the Middle East and demanded reforms in the Security Council, which has been at odds on ways to end the fighting in Syria.

    Riyadh's frustration is mostly directed at Washington, its oldest international ally, which has pursued policies since the Arab Spring that Saudi rulers have bitterly opposed and which have severely damaged relations between the two, Saudi analysts have said.

    Saudi Arabia has also been angered by a rapprochement between Washington and Iran, Riyadh's old regional foe, which has taken root since President Barack Obama spoke by telephone last month to the new Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in the highest-level contact between the two countries in more than three decades.

    Citing the Security Council's failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, take steps to end Syria's civil war and stop nuclear proliferation in the region, Riyadh said the body had instead perpetuated conflicts and grievances.

    "Saudi Arabia ... is refraining from taking membership of the U.N. Security Council until it has reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace," said a Foreign Ministry statement.

    A decision of such magnitude would have to have been taken by King Abdullah or Crown Prince Salman, said a Saudi analyst who asked not to be named.

    "Saudi Arabia has been working on (getting onto the Security Council) for the last three years. They trained diplomats, male and female, the cream of the Foreign Ministry, our best talented youths. Then somebody made the decision suddenly to pull out," he said.

    The conservative Islamic kingdom has traditionally avoided big political statements, preferring to wield its influence as the world's top oil exporter, birthplace of Islam and chief Arab ally of the United States behind closed doors.

    However, immersed in what they see as a pivotal struggle for the future of the Middle East with arch rival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious that the U.N. has taken no action over the Syrian conflict where they and Tehran back opposing sides.


    Blood-drenched images of Syria's civil war, in which more than 100,000 have died and in which millions have been displaced, are aired daily on Saudi news.

    Prince Saud has previously described President Bashar al-Assad's assault on areas held by rebels supported by Saudi Arabia as "genocide".

    Saudi anger boiled over after Assad escaped U.S.-led military strikes in response to a poison gas attack in Damascus by agreeing to give up his chemical arsenal.

    "There are people being killed every day, every hour. And the Muslim world is very angry because we don't see any action or any strong stance from the Security Council towards this situation," Abdullah al-Askar, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the kingdom's quasi-parliament, the Shoura Council, told Reuters.

    The Security Council has been split on how to handle the civil war in Syria, with Western powers pushing for stronger sanctions against Assad and Russia vetoing resolutions to that end. Saudi Arabia has backed the rebels in that conflict......

    1. Μπαν Κι Μουν: Η Σ. Αραβία δεν έχει ενημερώσει επίσημα ότι απορρίπτει τη θέση στο Σ.Α...

      Η Σαουδική Αραβία δεν έχει ενημερώσει επίσημα ότι θα απορρίψει τη θέση του μη μόνιμου μέλους στο Συμβούλιο Ασφαλείας του ΟΗΕ, δήλωσε ο γενικός γραμματέας του Οργανισμού, Μπαν Κι Μουν.

      Η πιθανή αντικατάσταση της Σαουδικής Αραβίας «είναι μια απόφαση την οποία θα λάβουν τα κράτη μέλη», πρόσθεσε ο Μπαν, όμως σημείωσε ότι ο ΟΗΕ «δεν έχει λάβει ακόμη επίσημη ανακοίνωση για το θέμα».

      Η χώρα του Περσικού Κόλπου κατηγορεί το σώμα για «δύο μέτρα και σταθμά» τα οποία δυσκολεύουν την ειρηνική επίλυση διεθνών διενέξεων και πολέμων.

      «Το βασίλειο θεωρεί ότι η μέθοδος λειτουργίας και τα δύο μέτρα και σταθμά του Συμβουλίου Ασφαλείας του στερούν τη δυνατότητα να εκπληρώσει τις υποχρεώσεις του σε σχέση με την παγκόσμια ειρήνη», ανακοίνωσε το υπουργείο Εξωτερικών σε δήλωση την οποία αναμετέδωσε το κρατικό πρακτορείο ειδήσεων της χώρας SPA.

      Απαντώντας στις επικρίσεις της Σαουδικής Αραβίας, ο Μπαν υπογράμμισε ότι ο ΟΗΕ επιθυμεί να συνεργαστεί στενά με το βασίλειο της Σαουδικής Αραβίας για να αντιμετωπίσει τις σημαντικές προκλήσεις. Ο ίδιος αναφέρθηκε στον τερματισμό του πολέμου στη Συρία, την παροχή βοήθειας στον παλαιστινιακό λαό ώστε να δημιουργήσει ένα «βιώσιμο κράτος, την παροχή βοήθειας στη μεταβατική διαδικασία στην Υεμένη, την παροχή ανθρωπιστικής βοήθειας σε όλους όσοι την έχουν ανάγκη και στην καταπολέμηση της τρομοκρατίας και της εξάπλωσης των πυρηνικών όπλων».

      Όσον αφορά τη διαδικασία που θα ακολουθηθεί μετά την επίσημη ανακοίνωση της Σαουδικής Αραβίας, ο Μπαν σημείωσε ότι «τα ενδιαφερόμενα κράτη μέλη θα συζητήσουν το θέμα μεταξύ τους»......

    2. Russia is surprised by Saudi Arabia’s decision to decline membership of the UN Security Council ...

      Russia is surprised by Saudi Arabia’s decision to decline the non-permanent member seat of the UN Security Council, said Friday the Russian Foreign Ministry.

      In a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, the government of Russia has expressed surprise over the accusations made by Riyadh in the address the UN Security Council, particularly at a time when the same council unanimously adopted Resolution 2118 - defining the legal framework for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict.

      Saudi Arabia has in fact withdrawn itself from the combined efforts of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, emphasized the Russian official statement.

      In a recent voting, Saudi Arabia and four other countries were elected to hold the non-permanent member’s seat for 2014-2015. The UN Security Council comprises of 15 states, five of which are permanent members, including the US, Russia, China, Britain and France. The remaining 10 are chosen by a secret ballot, with five countries getting a non-permanent membership each year for a two year term.
      Read more:

    3. Arab states call on S. Arabia to rethink U.N. protest....

      UNITED NATIONS: Arab nations on Saturday appealed to Saudi Arabia to reverse a decision to reject a seat on the UN Security Council.

      Arab UN ambassadors made the appeal in a statement following an emergency meeting called after Saudi Arabia said it would not take up a Security Council seat to protest UN handling of the Syria war and other conflicts....

  16. President Gül says Saudi Arabia's UN move aims to draw attention to international body’s failure...

    Turkish President Abdullah Gül said the recent turn down by Saudi Arabia on U.N. Security Council membership would hopefully draw global attention to some of the international body’s failure, according to Anadolu Agency.

    Gül was leaving an Emirgan mosque following Friday prayers when he was asked about the kingdom’s rejection of the Security Council seat, which Gül said should be respected.

    “The United Nations loses a lot of credit in the eye of human conscience. I always criticized, during General Assembly meetings, its failure to counter many incidents. It seems like Saudi Arabia is trying to grasp the world’s attention and to give a meaningful response. If they had chosen such a path, it should be met with respect,” Gül said.

    The president added that he hoped the kingdom succeeded in shifting the global focus on the failures of the international body.

    Saudi Arabia rejected membership of the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 18, a day after it was elected to the body, accusing it of “double-standards” in resolving world conflicts.

    “Work mechanisms and double-standards on the Security Council prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace,” the foreign ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse.

    “Therefore Saudi Arabia... has no other option but to turn down Security Council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world’s peace and security,” a statement said.

    For the first time ever, oil-rich, conservative Saudi Arabia won a seat on Oct. 17 on the 15-member council, which has a key role in dealing with world conflicts.......

  17. UN loses reputation: Turkish president...

    Turkish President Gul says Saudi Arabia's decision to reject its seat at the UN Security Council should be respected

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Friday that the UN had lost its reputation considerably as it remains silent on world conflicts.

    Commenting on Saudi's Arabia's decision to reject its seat at the UN Security Council just hours after it was elected as one of the Council's ten non-permanent members, Gul said Saudi Arabia apparantly wanted to draw the attention of the world by doing so.

    "They made a decision and we should respect it," Gul said and added, " The UN has lost its reputation considerably as it remains silent on world conflicts."

    Saudi Arabia, elected as the non-permanent member for UN Security Council, on Friday rejected its seat, accusing the UN of being ineffective in dealing with international conflicts.

    - Gul visits Turkish sailors fighting piracy in Somali off shores

    Gul visited sailors fighting piracy in Somali off shores in the Gulf of Aden located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa.

    He extended congratulations to the sailors for fulfilling their duties in international waters.

  18. Iran temporarily halts 20% uranium enrichment: report...

    AFP - Iran has temporarily halted its production of enriched uranium to 20 percent purity as it has sufficient stocks to fuel its Tehran research reactor, a lawmaker was quoted Thursday as saying.

    "There is no production at all ... as right now there is no need for the production of 20 percent (enriched) uranium," the parliament website reported conservative MP Hossein Naqavi Hosseini as saying.

    Iran's nuclear enrichment programme is at the core of its dispute with world powers, who suspect it masks a drive for atomic weapons despite repeated denials by the Islamic republic.

    Enriching uranium to 20 percent purity is a few technical steps short of producing weapons-grade fissile material.

    There was no immediate comment on the report from the government, from Iran?s atomic organisation, nor from the nuclear team tasked with negotiating with world powers over Tehran?s nuclear ambitions.

    Iran?s nuclear enrichment activities are monitored by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    The Vienna-based agency said it was aware of the report but had no comment on it.

    "We're aware of this report but I'm afraid we're not commenting right now," IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor told AFP via email.

    The parliamentary website,, further quoted Naqavi Hosseini as saying the fuel for the Tehran reactor, which is used to produce medical isotopes, is fully stocked.

    "This site currently has the required fuel and there is no need to produce (the 20 percent)," said Naqavi Hosseini.

    "Tehran itself decides whether to have above five percent enrichment or not. But the issue of suspension and halt is at the moment meaningless as there is no production at all," he said, referring to Western demands that Tehran suspends the high-level enrichment.

    Naqavi Hosseini is spokesman for the foreign policy commission, which is regularly briefed on Iran?s nuclear work.

    Declarations by members of the commission have on occasions been denied by the government.

    All decisions on Iran's nuclear programme rest with the ultimate decision-maker, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    Iran insists it will not bow to pressure to end its enrichment programme despite repeated demands by the UN Security Council and several rounds of sanctions.

    Demands that the programme be halted were again put forward earlier this year in the Kazakh city of Almaty, in talks between Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany.

    The halting of the sensitive work could be crucial in resolving the long-running showdown in the negotiations, which were revived last week in Geneva and are set to resume in November.

    In the talks, Iran is seeking the lifting of international sanctions which have damaged its struggling economy. World powers for their part are seeking to ensure that Tehran is not able to develop nuclear weapons.

  19. Norwegen lehnt Uno-Bitte um Entsorgung syrischer C-Waffen auf seinem Territorium ab...

    Die norwegischen Behörden haben nicht vor, ihre Genehmigung für die Vernichtung syrischer C-Waffen auf dem Territorium ihres Landes zu erteilen, erklärte der norwegische Außenminister Boerge Brende.

    Wie er laut AFP betonte, wäre eine Vernichtung syrischer C-Waffen in Norwegen in der von der Uno und der Organisation für das Verbot chemischer Waffen (OPCW) vorgesehenen Frist nicht möglich. Der Minister schlug vor, das US-Territorium für die C-Waffen-Entsorgung in Erwägung zu ziehen.

    Zuvor hatte sich die Uno an Norwegen mit der Bitte gewandt, bis zu 500 Tonnen Giftstoffe – die Hälfte der mutmaßlichen Gesamtmenge der C-Waffen – auf seinem Territorium zu vernichten.

    Momentan hält sich ein Vortrupp der gemeinsamen Uno- und OPCW-Mission in Syrien auf.

  20. Four out of twenty three chemical weapon sites in Syria remain to be inspected by OPCW experts....

    The experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have completed inspection of 19 sites out of the 23 chemical weapons sites declared by Syria, says a report on the OPCW website on Friday.

    According to the report, the international experts visited one of the sites on Thursday and made sure that all the chemicals suitable for making weapons were destroyed.

    Earlier this week, the OPCW declared that inspections were carried out in 17 sites, and 14 of these sites had the chemicals and equipment’s already destroyed before the visit.

    According to the decision taken on September 27th, the OPCW will need to complete the inspection of the sites declared by the Syrian authorities by the end of October, and also visit those sites which the member countries of the OPCW may like to be inspected at a later time, before the experts leave Syria.
    Read more:

  21. Giftgas: Syrien legt Plan zu Chemiewaffen-Abrüstung vor...

    Das Assad-Regime hat fristgerecht Details zum Giftgas-Programm übergeben. Die Inspektoren müssen nun einen Plan zur Zerstörung von Waffen und Anlagen erarbeiten.

    Syrien hat fristgerecht einen Plan zur Zerstörung seiner Chemiewaffenbestände vorgelegt. Das teilte die Organisation für das Verbot chemischer Waffen (OPCW) mit. Die Unterlagen seien am 24. Oktober und damit drei Tage vor Ablauf der Frist eingetroffen.

    Darin seien Einzelheiten über das syrische Giftgas-Programm enthalten. Zudem habe die Regierung in Damaskus einen Plan erarbeitet, wie die Chemiewaffen-Fabriken zerstört werden können.....

  22. Syria submits plan to destroy its chemical weapons ...

    Syria has submitted a declaration of its chemical weapons programme and a plan to eliminate them to the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the organisation said on Sunday, meeting the first major deadline of the destruction plan.

    Under a deal struck by the United States and Russia, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sent experts to Syria after a sarin gas attack killed more than 1,400 people near Damascus in August.

    The experts, supported by the United Nations, aim to oversee destruction of chemical weapons production and mixing equipment in Syria by Nov. 1, and deal with all chemical weapons materials by the end of June 2014.

    On Thursday, "the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons programme" which "includes a general plan of destruction for consideration by the OPCW Executive Council", the watchdog said in a statement on Sunday.

    "Syria's submission is in line with the deadline," it said.


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