U.N. Security Council is failing Syria, Ban Ki-moon admits

U.N. secretary general urges Russia and China to ‘look beyond national interest’ and stop blocking proposals to help end conflict.

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:00 am IST

Published - September 08, 2015 03:21 am IST - New York

Ban-ki Moon

Ban-ki Moon

The U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has admitted that the U.N. Security Council is failing Syria because of big power divisions that have prevented action to end a conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and driven the biggest refugee exodus in a generation.

The U.N. secretary general told The Guardian that Russia and China should “look beyond national interest” and stop blocking Security Council action on the conflict in Syria as the flow of refugees to Europe reaches unprecedented levels.

“We need some solidarity, unity of purpose, particularly among the permanent members of the Security Council,” he said in an interview.

“When they are divided, it is extremely difficult for the United Nations to deliver. That’s why I’ve been urging the members of the Security Council to look beyond national interest. We have to look for the global interest. When the Security Council members are united we have seen very speedy and tremendous impact in addressing the issues, as we have seen in the case of chemical weapon investigation in Syria.”

Although Mr. Ban did not name Russia and China, the two countries have on several occasions blocked resolutions critical of the Syrian government, threatening sanctions or pressing it towards a negotiated settlement.

Last year, Moscow and Beijing also vetoed a move backed by the 13 other permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council to refer the Syrian conflict for investigation by the international criminal court.

Mr. Ban had backed the referral to the ICC, saying the Syrian people “have a fundamental right to justice.”

Mistura’s warning Meanwhile, the U.N. special envoy for Syria warned on Monday that many thousands more would flee to Europe if the international community fails to find a peace accord and abandons them to IS.

De Mistura said up to one million more people could be at risk in western Syria, potentially adding to the flood of refugees seeking safety in the European Union.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2015

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