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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • As Trump falters, more Republicans say they'll block Clinton

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A new fundraising email from House Speaker Paul Ryan's political operation, over former Speaker Newt Gingrich's signature, seeks money for Republican congressional candidates by calling the appeal "our very last chance to stop Pelosi and Hillary. Source
  • CETA: After 3 missed deadlines, why isn't the Canada-EU summit cancelled?

    Canada News CBC News
    International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland's explanations yesterday seemed to be building toward a logical conclusion: Justin Trudeau isn't getting on a plane to Brussels this week to sign Canada's trade deal with the European Union. Except she didn't actually say that. Source
  • Complaint filed by common-law wife of Mexico's 'El Chapo'

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:05 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:10 PM EDT Source
  • Survivors describe chaotic attack at Pakistani police academy that killed 61, injured 123

    World News CBC News
    Survivors of an overnight attack that killed 61 people at a Pakistani police academy described chaotic scenes of gunfire and explosions, with militants shooting anyone they saw and cadets running for their lives and jumping from windows and rooftops. Source
  • Hispanic woman claims co-workers used Trump images to harass

    World News Toronto Sun
    IOWA CITY, Iowa — A Hispanic woman says her white co-workers at an Iowa claims office used images of Donald Trump to racially harass her for months after they learned she was angered by his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists, according to a civil rights lawsuit she filed against her company. Source
  • No criminal charges in death of B.C. woman who fell out of party bus

    Canada News CTV News
    Vancouver police say they have decided against recommending criminal charges in the death of a 23-year-old woman who fell out of a party bus in January. Police say Chelsea James lost her balance and stumbled into the stairwell against the pneumatic passenger door, which opened and she fell out of the bus. Source
  • Principal reportedly punched out for asking student to remove headphones

    World News Toronto Sun
    A New York City principal was beaten bloody by one of his students Monday after the teen reportedly was told to take off his headphones. Police told the New York Daily News that Matthew Tossman, who heads a Manhattan high school specializing in advertising prep courses, asked Luis Penzo, 18, to turn the music down on his headphones. Source
  • La. mom hosted teen sex parties

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Louisiana mother of five has been tossed in jail for a year after she was convicted of hosting -- and participating in -- booze and dope-fuelled teen sex parties. Brunette Rachel Carrier, 35, was even a frequent flier in the hormone-charged hijinks regularly pairing off with a 15-year-old boy. Source
  • Beaver beaten to death by chair in Saskatchewan

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WOLSELEY, Sask. — Some people in a small Saskatchewan community say they are disgusted and disappointed after a beaver was beaten to death with a chair. Residents say surveillance video from a bakery in Wolesley showed four men leaving a bar on Friday and going after the rodent. Source
  • FBI: Man wearing cat ’mugshot’ shirt robs Oklahoma bank

    World News Toronto Sun
    NORMAN, OKLA. - The FBI is searching for a man who they say robbed an Oklahoma bank while wearing a T-shirt depicting a cat posing for a mugshot. The FBI says the robbery happened Monday afternoon at a BancFirst bank in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City. Source