Syria from bad to worse

Violence and systemic human rights violations continue to increase in Syria. If confirmed, there was the bloodiest massacre in the Syrian conflict on 12 July, when some 200 people have been killed. This violence has to comdemned in the strongest terms. The Syrian government has not respected its commitment to end the violence, as have also some opposition groups.

A political solution has to be found to the Syrian crisis. This was the demand of the one hundred countries, which convened for the Group of Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on 6 July. The Group expressed its unanimous support for the work of special envoy Kofi Annan and the Syrian opposition. The participants of the meeting demanded the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take intensified actions in order to solve the situation in Syria. I spoke in the meeting on behalf of Nordic and Baltic countries underlining that for Kofi Annan to succeed the international community has to stand united.

The UN Security Council has a key role in solving the Syrian crisis. The Security Council set up the UN Supervision Mission in Syria in April and the operation was able to calm the situation locally. However, the observers became under such a serious threat of violence that in mid-June the Commander of the Operation had to pull the observers back to their bases. The mandate of the UNSMIS operation will expire on 20 July, before which the Security Council will decide on the future of the operation. Finland has contributed ten observers to the UNSMIS operation. Their number could be reduced if the UN Security Council decided to reduce the operation. Logically an extension and strenghtening the mission would seem appropriate.

It is vital that the Security Council agree on a new, stronger resolution on Syria. The Security Council has a possibility to decide on the measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. In this situation, it may be considered the measures under the article 41.This means the Security Council can decide on complete or partial interruption of economic relations, traffic service and telecommunications, and the severance of diplomatic relations. Chapter VII gives a possibility to decide on the military intervention but it is not an option in this case. The International community and the majority of the Syrian opposition groups oppose military intervention. In the worst case it could also lead to sectarian war and an extension of the Syrian crisis into the broader region in the Middle East. It would not establish a stable ground for a sustainable solution and a democratic transition process which Syria needs.

16.7. 2012