UN chief warns military action could derail Syria peace talks

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Wednesday that escalating military activity in Syria and threats of further use of force risk derailing efforts to reconvene peace talks and finding a political solution to the five-year-old war.

See Full Article

Ban delivered the warning in his first report to the Security Council on implementation of a council resolution adopted in December which endorsed a peace process for Syria, including a cease-fire and talks between the Damascus government and opposition.

The resolution was supported by 17 key countries supporting opposing sides of the Syrian conflict who agreed on Feb. 12 to a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria within a week. But that appears less and less likely as government forces, aided by a withering Russian bombing campaign, are trying to encircle rebels in Syria's largest city of Aleppo and cut off their supply route to Turkey.

The secretary-general said in a 14-page letter to the Security Council obtained by The Associated Press that rarely have the international community and the council been presented with such a stark choice.

On one hand, Ban said, they can implement the UN resolution, de-escalate violence, fight terrorism and resume negotiations.

On the other, he said, "the Syrian parties and their supporters can continue to pursue the bankrupt logic of a military victory, which has already led to the deaths of over 250,000 Syrians, the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, and the creation of safe havens for terrorist organizations" such as the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura halted the latest talks on Feb. 5 because of major differences between the two sides, exacerbated by increased aerial bombings and military action on the ground. He said he hopes to resume the talks by Feb. 25, but it's unclear if either delegation will return - and Ban's comments raise further doubts.

"The escalated military activity by several parties and the threats to resort to the further use of force risk derailing efforts to find a sustainable political solution and the ability of my special envoy to credibly reconvene the talks," Ban said.

Nonetheless, the secretary-general said the United Nations will do all it can to further implementation of the Security Council resolution, but to be successful it will need "genuine, committed and sustained backing" from the council and the 17 nations in the International Syria Support Group.

The secretary-general also reiterated his call for the Security Council to refer the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes. "Those responsible must be held accountable for the appalling crimes that continue to be committed," he said.

An attempt in May 2014 to refer the Syrian crisis to the ICC was supported by 13 council members but vetoed by Russia, Syria's closest council ally, and China - and a new attempt would likely see the same result.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Terror in Spain: Multiple fatalities after van plows pedestrians in Barcelona [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Source
  • Video shows men standing between subway cars in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Montreal say they are aware of a video that shows two men standing between subway cars as the train pulls out of a Metro station. The two individuals can be seen standing on the metal coupler that links two Metro cars, in a video that has racked up more than 70,000 views online. Source
  • Pikangikum First Nation to be connected to Ontario power grid by next fall

    Canada News CTV News
    THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- The federal government has announced funding to connect the Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario to the province's power grid. The remote community near the Ontario-Manitoba border currently relies on diesel generators for electricity. Source
  • After 3 years in ISIS captivity, Yazidi boy reunites with mom in Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    Nofa Zaghla weeps with emotion as she hugs her 12-year-old son in a cramped room at the Winnipeg airport in the early hours of Thursday morning. Surrounded by tearful family and friends, a smiling Emad Mishko Tamo is being held by his mother for the first time in three years. Source
  • Ontario reviewing outdoor education policies after student dies on field trip

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario is launching a review of outdoor education policies for every school board in the province after the death of a Toronto teen on a school-run canoe trip this summer. Education Minister Mitzie Hunter also says the ministry will immediately increase funding to life-saving swimming programs and increase awareness about the programs for incoming Canadian residents. Source
  • Canadian schools reluctant to embrace later bell times despite mounting research

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A wave of international research suggesting delaying high school start times would have health and academic benefits for students has not yet crested in Canada. Several individual boards and schools have embraced the growing number of global studies suggesting that early start times are at odds with adolescents' natural sleep patterns and can hamper both their academic progress and mental health. Source
  • Number of asylum seekers crossing Quebec border nearly quadrupled in July [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LACOLLE, Que. — Authorities say the number of asylum seekers intercepted at the Quebec-New York border in July nearly quadrupled and shows no sign of slowing down. Immigration and Citizenship Canada said today the number jumped to 2,996 from 781 in June. Source
  • Constipated gorilla in Kansas zoo recovering after surgery

    World News Toronto Sun
    TOPEKA, Kan. — A constipated 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas is recovering after having surgery. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the procedure that Tiffany underwent Wednesday went “really well. Source
  • Multiple deaths after van driven into Barcelona crowd in apparent terror attack

    World News CBC News
    Spanish police have confirmed there are fatalities after a van slammed into pedestrians in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district. The newspaper El Pais quoted unnamed police sources as saying it was being treated as a terror attack and that the perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Source
  • Calls for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to condemn The Rebel Media [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer isn’t saying whether he’ll condemn online news outlet the Rebel for its coverage of last weekend’s deadly Charlottesville protests. In a video posted to Facebook by advocacy group Leadnow, Scheer would only say he saw some of the Rebel’s coverage, and that anything that gives a platform to what he calls “obnoxious groups” is worth condemnation. Source