What's In Blue

Posted Thu 28 Apr 2011

Insights on Syria

Yesterday, (Wednesday, 27 April) having failed to reach consensus on a press statement on the situation in Syria, the Council held a public debate on the Middle East which enabled many members to put on record their concern about ongoing violence by Syrian security forces against unarmed civilian protestors. The head of the political affairs department, B. Lynn Pascoe provided a detailed public briefing. Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari gave his government’s position on the situation.

This procedural development was not contested. The Council had agreed the day before that rather than a closed briefing from the head of the political department, B. Lynn Pascoe, a public briefing and debate would be held if there was no agreement on a press statement. (This agreement was reached during informal consultations following the Secretary-General’s briefing on his recent developments and his travels.)

It seems that the main objections to the press statment came from Russia and Lebanon. Russia argued that Council action on Syria would constitute interference in a domestic matter. Lebanon was reluctant to associate itself with any statement because of its close links with Syria.

It remains to be seen, in light of developments, whether this issue will continue to be discussed within the Council.