What's In Blue

Posted Tue 9 Aug 2011

Security Council Briefing on Syria

Tomorrow (10 August) Council members will be briefed on Syria by Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez Taranco. This follows up the Council’s decision on 3 August in a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/16) which requested the Secretary-General to update the Security Council on the situation in Syria within 7 days.

It seems that Council members will hear about the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) initiative which has resulted in a visit by the IBSA Deputy Foreign Ministers to Damascus on 9 August. They are expected to meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on 10 August.

This follows increasingly strong denunciations of the violence in Syria from the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council called on Syria to end the violence and asked it to adopt serious reforms. The Arab League Secretary-General called on the Syrian president to stop using military force. On Monday Saudi Arabia declared the use of force unacceptable, and along with Kuwait and Bahrain, recalled ambassadors. (Qatar recalled its ambassador in July. )

The Secretary-General spoke with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on Saturday and urged him to halt the use of force against civilians. He also reiterated his call on the Syrian Government to receive missions from the international humanitarian agencies and from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

It seems that there will also be discussion among Council members of continued follow-up on the Syrian situation, in particular, on humanitarian access and human rights. A number of members see Syria as a continuing issue on which the Council will need to stay engaged and may require further action as developments unfold. The possibility of a special advisor to the Secretary-General on the Syrian situation also appears to remain in play.

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