Security Council inaction on Syria a ‘disgrace,’ Turkish President tells Assembly

President of Turkey Abdullah Gül. UN Photo/Mark Garten

24 September 2013 – Stressing the centrality of a “strong, efficient, and credible” United Nations for ensuring world peace and stability, Turkish President Abdullah Gül today called it a “disgrace” that the Security Council has not ended the civil war in Syria and ensured a stable transition from the current regime.

“The burden of ending Syria's plight now rests on the shoulders of the international community,” he told the General Assembly on the first day of its annual General Debate, noting that the world’s deepest crises are being spawned by increasingly frequent internal conflicts, and welcoming the agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons as only a first step.

“We must realize that inaction by the Security Council only emboldens aggressive regimes.

We need a UN capable of forcing the perpetrators of brutal actions to submit to justice and the rule of law. Only through such a UN can we achieve the truly peaceful world envisioned by this institution's founders,” he said, stressing that decisive action is the only way that the UN system will remain relevant and credible.

“The agreement to destroy Syria's chemical arsenal must not allow the regime to avoid responsibility for its other crimes,” he added, referring to the more than 100,000 people who have died and the over 6 million who have been driven from their homes in the two and a half years since protests erupted against President Bashar Al-Assad.

“It is a disgrace that the United Nations Security Council has failed to uphold its primary responsibility in this case,” Mr. Gül said, regretting that political differences, balance-of-power politics, and geopolitical considerations within the 15-member Council have prevailed over action to end the tragedy.

He noted that the Syrian conflict neither began with the chemical weapons attack which killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb last month, nor will it end with an agreement to eliminate them.

On other issues Mr. Gül called for an effective international partnership against terrorism, stressing that the scourge only be defeated “once we get rid of ‘my terrorist/your terrorist’ distinctions.

He decried the emergence of “Islamophobia” as a new form of racism, urging a balance between freedom of expression and respect for religion, called on Israel to accept the establishment of a viable contiguous Palestinian state, and reiterated Turkey’s commitment to a just and negotiated settlement for Cyprus, which has been divides since 1964 when inter-communal fighting erupted between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

Mr. Gül also discussed the Syrian crisis in a meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with both leaders agreeing on the need for decisive Security Council action.


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