Vote on UN Resolution on Syria…Guyana explains abstention
- Doesn’t agree with call for Al-Assad to step down
The Government of Guyana did not vote on the United Nations Resolution on Syria because it did not agree with the call for President Bashar Al-Assad to step down, and also it did not agree for there to be cohesion among the Syrian opposition, the Foreign Affairs Ministry revealed in a statement yesterday.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 20,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, but Syrian opposition groups say the death figure is much higher.
The Foreign Ministry said that it found “unacceptable” the call for Al-Assad to step down, “since this was outside the accepted international norms of democratic governance processes.”
Further, the Ministry said that “the resolution also encourages cohesion among the opposition, many of whom are unknown to the international community, and some of whom are identified by the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry with the perpetration of human rights violations, and with contributing to the escalation of the conflict. Guyana could not blindly support opposition elements under such circumstances.”
Earlier this week, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, a leading Member of the Opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said that the government seems fixated with the opposition, and assigning blame.
The government has been blistered for abstaining on the UN resolution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Guyana has followed “with grave concern” the unfolding situation in Syria and “the increasingly heavy toll” it is taking on the people of that country.
The Ministry referred to United Nations reports as noting that there have been “serious violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law” that have been perpetrated by all sides to the conflict.
The Government of Guyana had on two previous occasions supported resolutions of the General Assembly strongly condemning violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, even though the said resolutions paid scant attention to the actions of other parties, the Ministry stated.
The most recent of these votes was for the appointment of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League.
The Ministry said that Guyana’s abstention vote on August 3 has to be seen in the context of the evolving situation on the ground, the urgent need for a political settlement and for an efficacious response by the international community within the framework of the United Nations Charter and international law.
A number of changes have taken place on the ground, which have led to a reconsideration of Guyana’s position, the Ministry stated. These are that the situation has become increasingly militarised and the presence of terrorist elements has been recognised as contributing to the intensification of the conflict, and that the international community has grown more divided, resulting in the inability of the Security Council to agree on an appropriate response.
The government here noted that the outgoing Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League has observed that the challenges within Syria have been compounded by the lack of unity on the part of the international community.
“The Government of Guyana is of the view that the interests of the Syrian people will be served by an immediate end to the violence and bloodshed by all parties and the provision of the necessary humanitarian and other support as envisaged in the six-point plan endorsed by the Security Council,” the Ministry stated.
It added that the focus of attention has to be on the search for a viable political solution, and for there to be success; the international community needs to be united and to adopt a comprehensive approach addressing all sides to the conflict.
“The mere singling out of one party will not suffice,” the statement indicated.
The government said the situation in Syria is a complex one, exacerbated by differing interests of the many actors on the ground that has seen the people of Syria being the greatest casualties.
“As a concerned member of the international community, Guyana continues to urge a peaceful resolution in accordance with the principles of international law.’