Syrian opposition may address UN security council privately


Syrian National Coalition  logoA Senior UN diplomat on Wednesday said there is a “possibility” that the Syrian opposition, when and if it takes a decision on its leadership this week, to be invited to address the Security Council privately.

“Depending on what happens with the opposition, there is the possibility that the new opposition leadership will come to New York and we may set up a (private) Council meeting this month. This is something we encourage and we will be in touch with the opposition about,” the diplomat told a limited number of reporters including KUNA.

If it happens, that would be the first time that the opposition interacts with Council members.

The diplomat defined that the decision the opposition will take later this week in Istanbul, Turkey on its leadership is a “critical first step” in the holding of Geneva II Conference.

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces hold their meeting on July 4th and 5th and will focus on naming a new president for the Coalition to succeed Moaz Al-Khatib, and decisions regarding participating in Geneva II Conference.

On this Conference, the diplomat said he does not expect it to be held before the end of Ramadhan, and it is “more likely to be in September than August,” adding that it is “unlikely” that it takes place in New York in late September when world leaders gather here for the General Assembly’s 68th session.

On the humanitarian situation in Syria, he said the High-Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos will brief the Council this month on the lack of access to the humanitarian workers to reach the needy population in Homs and other areas in Syria.

On the situation in Homs, he said Australia and Luxembourg circulated a press statement and it may be adopted later today if Russia does not block it.

According to the draft, Council members would express their “grave concern” about the estimated 2,500 civilians trapped in Homs, as a result of the recent heavy fighting.

It would call on the Syrian government to facilitate “immediate and safe” access to humanitarian staff to reach the population in the besieged town, particularly those in “urgent” need of medical assistance.

It would further call on “all parties” in Syria to protect civilians, including allowing them to leave Homs and avoid casualties, recalling the government’s responsibility in this regard.

The diplomat noted that this move is separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s call on the Council last week to act on Homs, insisting that the Council has not yet received any communication from the Group’s Chairman, Bahrain.

The value of this press statement, he noted, is “it shows that the Security Council is concerned about the humanitarian situation and puts pressure on Damascus to allow humanitarian workers to enter Homs, as was the case in Al-Qusair last month when the Council issued a similar statement, with Russia’s approval.

In a related matter, and on the situation in Lebanon, the diplomat said the Council is also working on a Presidential Statement to be issued on July 9th following a Council private briefing by UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derrick Plumbly.

That statement, he said, would focus on the “need for all factions to respect the Lebanese dissociation policy, call for a new government, and stress the need for additional international support on the humanitarian side.




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