Annan Says Syria 'Flouted' U.N. Resolutions with Treimsa Massacre, Clinton Urges Ceasefire around Town

Posted on: July 14, 2012 at 01:45
U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that the Syrian government had ''flouted'' U.N. resolutions with the latest mass killings in the country.

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon also told the council that the killings in the village of Treimsa were an ''outrageous escalation'' of the conflict.

''The use of artillery, tanks and helicopters, which has been confirmed by UNSMIS, is a violation of the Syrian government's obligations and commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers,'' Annan said in a letter to the 15-nation council obtained by Agence France Presse.

Activist groups said at least 150 people were killed Thursday in an attack in Treimsa, which had a population of around 7,000.

''Tragically, we now have another grim reminder that the council's resolutions continue to be flouted,'' Annan said in the letter.

Annan reaffirmed his call for the council, which is debating a resolution on Syria, to ''send a message to all that there will be consequences for non-compliance.''

''This is imperative and could not be more urgent in the light of unfolding events,'' he added.

Western nations have proposed a resolution that would impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad for not ending the use of heavy weapons in the conflict. Russia, however, has rejected the use of sanctions.

U.N. Secretary General Ban made his own condemnation of the massacre in a note to the council with Annan's letter.

''I condemn this outrageous escalation of violence in the strongest possible terms, and fully concur with the views expressed by the joint special envoy,'' Ban said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a ceasefire to let U.N. observers enter Treimsa.

''We call for an immediate ceasefire in and around Hama to allow the U.N. observer mission to enter Treimsa. Those who committed these atrocities will be identified and held accountable,'' Clinton said in a statement.

She said reports of the use of artillery, tanks, and helicopters were ''indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians.''

''As long as the Assad regime continues to wage war against the Syrian people, the international community must keep increasing the pressure on the regime to halt the violence and allow for a political solution to go forward,'' Clinton added.

The U.S. secretary of state also stepped up demands for the deadlocked U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution ordering sanctions against President Bashar Assad's government if he does not carry out the peace plan of international envoy Kofi Annan.

Russia, Syria's main international ally, has rejected calls for sanctions.

''The Security Council should put its full weight behind the Annan plan for an immediate ceasefire and a political transition and make clear to the Syrian regime that there will be consequences for non-compliance,'' Clinton said.

''History will judge this council. Its members must ask themselves whether continuing to allow the Assad regime to commit unspeakable violence against its own people is the legacy they want to leave,'' she said.

For her part, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also on Friday denounced the Treimsa massacre as ''an atrocity'' and ''a blatant violation'' of Annan’s plan.

''I am deeply shocked by reports of the ruthless killing of at least 200 men, women and children'' in Treimsa, she said in a statement.

''The regime's use of heavy weaponry, including artillery and helicopters, which has been confirmed by U.N. observers, is a blatant violation of its obligations under the Annan plan.''

''I condemn this atrocity in the strongest possible terms.''

Ashton called for U.N. observers to be given immediate unhindered access to the village and said those responsible for such ''heinous acts'' should be held accountable.

''There can be no impunity for the perpetrators of these alleged human rights violations.''

Also condemning the massacre, the head of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council on Friday called for the U.N. Security Council to take firm action against Damascus.

Abdellatif Zayani branded Thursday's killings ''a savage, terrorist act contrary to the precepts of Islam'' and urged the Security Council ''to put an end to the painful tragedy of the Syrian people.''

The secretary general, whose organization groups Saudi Arabia with Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, called for action under the world body's Chapter VII, which could clear the way for military action.

He also urged a full investigation.

Source:Agence France Presse
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