SBY questions UN’s efforts
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono questioned the effectiveness of the UN’s efforts in stopping the 16-month conflict in Syria, which has claimed thousands of lives, and called on the world body to send peacemaking troops to get the situation under control.
On Thursday, Russia and China for the third time vetoed a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not stop using heavy weapons against the uprising and withdraw troops from towns and cities.
The vetoed resolution, which would have extended a UN observer mission to Syria for 45 days, received 11 votes in favor, with two abstentions.
The 15-member council still has time to negotiate another resolution on the fate of the unarmed mission before its initial 90-day mandate expires at midnight (0400 GMT) on Friday, Reuters reported.
Britain, France, Germany and the United States proposed in the vetoed resolution that international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan be placed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows the council to authorize actions ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military intervention.
“I have been following closely the developments in Syria, many civilians have lost their lives. There has been no sign of an effective solution by Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council to end the war while innocent civilians continue to fall victims,” Yudhoyono said in a Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office.
“There is no question that the UN has failed to unite to stop the civil war in Syria which has become a humanitarian disaster. I have conveyed my recommendation to [UN chief] Ban Ki-moon in which I have also asked him to remain active in seeking a resolution,” the President said.
“The situation in Syria can no longer be tolerated. Concrete measures must be taken both by Syria as a nation and by the international community,” he added.
Yudhoyono held a press conference at the State Palace on the situation in Syria which he called a form of “moral responsibility”.
The President called on the UN to form and send peacemaking forces to Syria. “Indonesia believes that it is possible for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to contribute the forces under the UN flag. Building peace in a concerted manner in Syria should be guided by the principles that presently apply in UN peace operations,” Yudhoyono said.
He called on the UN Security Council to immediately agree to take such action. “If the current mandate is not effective in ending the ongoing violence and armed conflict, Indonesia believes that it is time to consider adjusting the mandate, according to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, to transform the main mission of the UN from merely peacekeeping to peacemaking,” he said.
“These peacemaking efforts should neither be linked to the demand for regime change nor to the continuation of the current government in Syria,” Yudhoyono added.
Assad has made no public appearance or statement since Wednesday’s bomb in Damascus that killed his defense minister and his brother-in-law.
As Yudhoyono concluded his press statement, he said, “Muslims all over the world will conduct their fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan. Like many Muslims in other parts of the world, our Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria also hope and pray for peace and serenity in their homeland as they perform their religious obligation during the fasting month.”