Security Council must act now to address Syria crisis, UN-Arab League envoy stresses

29 January 2013

The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, today called on the Security Council to take action to advance a solution to the ongoing conflict, warning against any further delay.

“Syria is being destroyed bit by bit. And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters at UN Headquarters following a closed-door session with the Council.

“That is why I believe the Security Council simply cannot continue to say ‘we are disagreement, therefore, let’s wait for better times’. I think they have got to grapple with this problem now,” he stated.

Mr. Brahimi’s briefing comes on the eve of a humanitarian pledging conference for Syria that will be chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tomorrow in Kuwait. The conference seeks to raise $1.5 billion to assist civilians affected by the ongoing conflict over the next six months, including those taking refuge beyond Syrian borders.

More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which has also left more than 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

In his comments today, Mr. Brahimi also discussed the Geneva communiqué, which was issued after a meeting of the so-called Action Group for Syria last June and which lays out key steps in a process to end the violence in Syria.

Amongst other items, the communiqué called for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

“I’m now calling on the Security Council to take action because the Geneva declaration that contains, indeed, a lot of elements that would provide for a reasonable solution to the conflict cannot be implemented as it is,” said the envoy. “It needs action from the Council and I have suggested a few ideas to them.”

Also speaking to reporters, Ambassador Masood Khan of Pakistan, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, said that Council members conveyed a sense of urgency that “something ought to be done and something ought to be done quickly” to stem the crisis in Syria and its consequences for the entire region.

“Council members gave several suggestions for breaking the impasse and trying to find some formula for a political solution,” he added.

In his comments, Mr. Brahimi also reputed reports that he is resigning from his post. “I’m not a quitter. The United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged with this problem, whether I’m there or not. The moment I feel that I am totally useless, I will not stay one minute more.”

Syria also featured prominently in discussions held today in Kuwait by Mr. Ban and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby, both of whom reiterated their strong support for the efforts of Mr. Brahimi.

In his meetings with Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, and other officials, Mr. Ban emphasized that the country’s hosting of the event comes at a critical time for Syria, where the humanitarian situation continues to worsen.


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