U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned in the strongest possible terms the indiscriminate use of heavy artillery and shelling of populated areas in Syria. (Reuters)
Al Arabiya , 13 July 2012 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday reports of a massacre by Syrian government forces cast “serious doubts”' on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s commitment to a U.N.-backed peace plan as Kofi Annan told the Security Council that Syria “flouted” U.N. resolutions with the latest massacre.
“I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the indiscriminate use of heavy artillery and shelling of populated areas, including by firing from helicopters,” Ban said in a statement, according to Reuters.
“They also cast serious doubts on President al-Assad’s recent expression of commitment to the six-point plan in his meeting with the Joint Special Envoy,” he said, referring to Assad’s meeting with international envoy Kofi Annan in Damascus on Monday.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. (Reuters)
Meanwhile, Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that the Syrian government “flouted” U.N. resolutions with the latest mass killings in the country.
The massacre of as many as 250 people in the village of Tremsa added new urgency to deadlocked Security Council negotiations on a Syria resolution. Russia has rejected western demands for sanctions to be threatened to back Annan’s peace efforts.
“The use of artillery, tanks and helicopters, which has been confirmed by UNSMIS, is a violation of the Syrian government’s obligations and commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers,” Annan said in a letter to the 15-nation council, obtained by Al Arabiya.
“Tragically, we now have another grim reminder that the council’s resolutions continue to be flouted,” Annan said in the letter.
The council passed two resolutions in April which set up the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and demanded that President Bashar al-Assad stick to the six-point peace plan he agreed with Annan. The agreement included a halt to the use of heavy weapons.
Annan reaffirmed his call for the council to “send a message to all that there will be consequences for non-compliance” with his plan.
“This is imperative and could not be more urgent in the light of unfolding events,” he added, according to AFP.
U.N. envoys held more talks Friday in a bid to break their deadlock on a Security Council resolution to renew the U.N. mission. A vote must be held by July 20 when the mission’s 90-day mandate runs out.
Western nations have proposed a resolution that would impose sanctions on Assad for not ending the use of heavy weapons in the conflict. Russia, however, has rejected the use of sanctions.
A resolution proposed by Britain, France, United States, Germany and Portugal would give Assad 10 days to stop the use of heavy weapons, in line with the Annan plan, or face sanctions. The western nations only want to give UNSMIS a new 45-day mandate.
Russia’s rival resolution would renew UNSMIS for 90 days but makes no mention of international measures. The Russian government has said sanctions are “unacceptable” and would not be allowed.