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

  • Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- President Donald Trump revived one of his favourite -- and most provocative -- taunts against Elizabeth Warren on Friday, derisively calling the Massachusetts senator "Pocahontas." Trump mocked Warren repeatedly during the presidential campaign for claims she made about being part Native American. Source
  • Man who worked at Alberta daycare accused of possessing child porn

    Canada News CTV News
    WETASKIWIN, Alta. -- A 40-year-old man who worked at a daycare has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. The Internet Child Exploitation unit says they want to speak with families who may have used Tykes and Tots Day Home in Wetaskiwin. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end'

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source
  • U.S. seeks tough North Korea action, but China shows no inclination

    World News Toronto Sun
    Turning to diplomacy after flexing military muscle, the United States will urge the U.N. Security Council on Friday to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, leaning on China in particular to turn the screws on its wayward ally. Source
  • Serial killer James Dale Ritchie murdered 4 more

    World News Toronto Sun
    James Dale Ritchie died on the snowy streets of Anchorage, Alaska, with a .357 Colt Python still clutched in his hand. Ritchie, 40, drew the losing hand in a shootout with cops on Nov. 12. Now, detectives have linked the “super intelligent” Ritchie to four more homicides. Source
  • Police are now investigating after protesters swarm cars at dinner event hosted by Sask. Premier Brad Wall

    Canada News CBC News
    Police are now investigating after hundreds of protesters swarmed cars outside the Premier's dinner in Saskatoon. "We're asking people to provide us with info, if they have it, and are looking into the actions of protesters," Saskatoon Police said via Twitter on Friday. Source
  • Dubai dad tries to kidnap lesbian daughter

    World News Toronto Sun
    A homophobic father tricked his lesbian daughter and her gal pal into venturing into the dangerous Middle East – where he stole their passports. The two British women were then stranded in a Turkish detention centre as the father’s attempt to kidnap his daughter and keep her in the Middle East failed. Source
  • Liberals 'doubly committed' to tackling marriage fraud while ending 2-year spousal residency rule

    Canada News CBC News
    Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the federal government is clamping down on marriage fraud even as it scraps a two-year co-habitation requirement for newcomers sponsored by their spouses. Hussen said the conditional permanent residency, which was brought in by the Conservatives in 2012, was leaving some women in harmful domestic situations. Source
  • Flyer campaign targets NDP candidate's transgender identity

    Canada News CBC News
    The NDP candidate for Vancouver-False Creek says she's concerned about the impact of a set of flyers distributed in her riding targeting her transgender identity and the LGBTQ community in general. The flyers — distributed throughout Yaletown — target NDP candidate Morgane Oger by purporting to reveal her male birth name and old photograph. Source
  • N. Korea official: U.S. efforts to rid nukes a ‘wild dream’

    World News Toronto Sun
    North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador said Friday that U.S. efforts to get rid of his country’s nuclear weapons through military threats and sanctions are “a wild dream.” Kim In Ryong told The Associated Press that North Korea’s nuclear weapons are never part of “political bargains and economic deals. Source