Pakistan stresses political solution to Syrian crisis
02 September, 2013
NEW YORK: Pakistan's Ambassador to United Nations Masood Khan on Sunday called for avoiding any precipitate use of force against Syria, saying the over two-year old crisis in the Middle East country should be resolved politically.
"The international community should heed the call of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, because military solution is not an option, now or late," he said while commenting on the latest developments in the region during an interview with Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). Specifically asked for his comments about President Barack Obama's speech on Syria, Masood Khan said the US leader's move to take his plan for military action against Syria to Congress was a "wise decision."
"This is the time for a strategic pause," the Pakistani envoy said, adding that the UN Security Council should reassemble to review the situation to take a common stance. "The hiatus in the Council is one of the factors that has prolonged the conflict in Syria," he said, referring to differences between Russia and the United States over how to deal with the crisis. "The divisions (within the Council) should blur and all members should explore common ground inside and outside the Council", he stated.
Pakistan, he emphasised, condemns the alleged use of chemical weapons by whomsoever authorised or executed. "We condemn the attack on August 21 that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, including women and children," he said, noting there is a sense of urgency to bring closure to the Syrian conflict so that such catastrophes do not recur.
"But diplomacy will be a stronger weapon than force". "Pakistan supports multilateral diplomacy, international consensus, and legitimacy of action anchored in the UN Charter," he said. "That is why, it is important for the permanent members of the Council to resolve their differences to pave the way for the second Geneva peace conference.
"The government and opposition forces of Syria need diplomacy, not war. We have appealed to all sides to halt hostilities in the interest of their and their state's integrity and work earnestly for Geneva -II conference to work on peace and conciliation. "And for that the Security Council provides a better route, a better vehicle."
Noting that UN track was moving slowly, Masood Khan said the UN inspectors who have just concluded their visit to Syria will be able to say if chemical weapons were used, without identifying who used them. But if the Council agrees, another mission could be sent for that purpose, he said, adding that "responsibility has to be affixed conclusively before Council action".
"We must wait for the results of UN investigations teams findings. It is also important to determine what kind of chemical agents or substances were used," he said.