Al-Jaafari: States Interested in the Success of Annan Plan Should Stop Arming and Embracing Terrorists
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that al-Houla massacre as a horrible, unjustified and unjustifiable crime which the Syrian government has firmly condemned.
Al-Jaafari’s remarks came after the UN Security Council’s informal session held on Monday.
He condemned the “tsunami of lies” being told by some UNSC members, accusing them of trying to mislead the world about Syria’s role in the massacre with claims that what they are saying is based on evidence.
“Neither UN observer mission head Maj Gen Robert Mood nor anybody else told the Security Council in the informal session that he would blame the Syrian government forces for what happened.
“It is really pitiful and regrettable that some members of the council came out just a few minutes after Gen Mood had finished his briefing to mislead you, to tell you lies about what happened,” he said.
Al-Jaafari stressed the importance of understanding the background and the comprehensive scene of what happened to understand these crimes, adding that “after Friday prayers, 200 to 300 gunmen driving pick-up trucks equipped with anti-tank missiles, mortar projectiles and machineguns headed from different places to meet in al-Houla area where they attacked law-enforcement forces in the region from 14:00 pm till 23:00 pm… We are not talking about a half hour military attack but an intended and planned operation.”
“After attacking military and law-enforcement forces, the gunmen started to kill civilians then they moved to another village where they burned the national hospital, houses and the farmers’ harvests after which they murdered dozens of innocent civilians in another village near al-Houla which is al-Shumariyeh. So, we are not talking about one accident but we are talking about a series of operations took place in small villages in the region,” he added.
Al-Jaafari said that the Syrian government has formed an investigation committee to find those who committed these heinous massacres and bring them to justice and they will be punished according to Syrian law.
The UN Security Council adopted a statement that is very similar to Gen. Mood’s copy regarding the events in which he did not accuse the Syrian government of committing these massacres, on the contrary, the statement indicated the existence of other elements that might be responsible for what happened, he added.
Al-Jaafari said that the UN Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the acts of killing which the UN observers confirmed, adding that “I am, on the behalf of my government, affirm that there are acts of killing against dozens of civilians, exactly 114 people.”
“The Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range or by severe physical abuse, which is the case in al-Houla. So, they were not killed in tank shelling as the bodies will not look like those we have seen. We are talking about acts of killing similar to those committed in Algeria in the nineties of the last century,” al-Jaafari added.
He said that the Syrian government will spare no effort to find those who committed the massacres, adding that “the UNSC should convene to define those who arm, host, harbor and encourage the terrorist groups to continue their violence in Syria and bring them to justice,”
Al-Jaafari said that there are UNSC member states who publically announced that they will spare no effort to provide the Syrian opposition with weapons, some of them said “non-lethal weapons” and I don’t know what this term means but the immediate sequences of arming the opposition were manifested in the abduction of the Lebanese pilgrims coming back from Iraq through the Turkish borders, the suicide bombings and the infiltration of al-Qaeda into the Syrian territories.
“We should hold all the responsible ones accountable and have them face justice even if it has connection to some permanent members at the UN Security Council,” he added.
“Those who are very interested in halting violence and making the comprehensive national dialogue in Syria a success should stop interfering in our internal affairs and should stop arming, hosting, funding and protecting the armed terrorist groups in my country,” said al-Jaafari, adding that “No one can ignite fire and be the firefighter at the same time and, unfortunately, this is the case for many UNSC member states,”
He added that “The Arab, regional and international dimensions of the Syrian crisis are not fuzzy any more and all of us know what I mean.”
Regarding the role of the UN observer mission in investigating the massacre, al-Jaafari indicated to the close cooperation between the Syrian government and the observers, adding that the Syrian government will tell Gen. Mood the results of the investigation conducted by the Syrian fact-finding committee which was formed for this reason and Mr. Mood will in turn transfer these information to the UNSC members and Annan.
He added that “every time the UNSC sets a date to discuss the crisis in Syria, a suicide operation or a massacre happens which is not a coincidence and it is not a coincidence that the massacre took place just before international Envoy Kofi Annan is scheduled to arrive in Syria and this is very important to know the real motive for those who commit this horrible massacre.
He stressed that there is mobilization at the UNSC against the Syrian government, adding that no government worldwide would massacre its citizens for political purposes or to achieve political victory over its enemies.
Pankin: Massacre photos indicate that killing perpetrated by shooting at close range
For his part, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Igor Pankin, stressed that the development of the situation in Houla will negatively affect the future of the peaceful settlement and national reconciliation in Syria.
In a statement to press following the UN Security Council’s session, Pankin said Gen. Mood has said that the bitterness and anger which have developed around Syria during the past two days do not create a suitable environment for Annan’s forthcoming visit… but in spite of this the Council will remain committed to support Annan’s plan and the international observer’s mission to Syria.
He confirmed the existence of a third party or force in Syria who may be the terrorists or foreign forces, asserting that the opposition has a problem with sitting to any kind of political process that leads to a national reconciliation on the future of the country.
Pankin confirmed that the illicit outflow of weapons into Syria through borders still continues.
He added ” We have no evidence, but according to the observers, the inhabitants of the village alleged that the gunmen may be the Shabiha militant who support the government, but there weren’t any visual proofs on the alleged existence of the Shabiha in the village,”
“The statement issued by the Security Council on Houla massacre did not include any proof or evidence and this is what all members of the Council have agreed on… we don’t believe that the Syrian government would be interested in spoiling the visit of Annan which is expected for this visit to achieve a lot of progress,” Pankin said.
Earlier, the UN Security Council has adopted a non-binding statement in which it condemned with strongest terms Houla massacre.
“The Council condemns with strongest terms the killing acts, which were confirmed by the UN observers, perpetrated against men, women and children and the injury of hundreds others in Houla village,” the statement said.
The statement also called for halting all forms of violence by all sides and punishing those who are responsible for.
It said that the Council’s members expressed their commitment to the sovereignty, Independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
The statement called on the Syrian government to immediately pull back its forces and heavy weapons from the cities.
The statement called on the UN chief and observers team to continue investigating these attacks and to refer the results to the Security Council.
The council’s members underscored their full support to the efforts of the UN envoy to Syria.
Churkin: Armed Groups Use Every Opportunity to Violate Annan’s Plan
In a similar press conference after the UNSC session, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin affirmed that armed groups in Syria continue to use every opportunity to violate Annan’s plan by targeting civilians and state officials.
Churkin said that there’s no tangible progress in implementing Annan’s plan save for the government’s withdrawal of heavy artillery from the perimeters of cities, noting that the Syrian opposition strongly rejects dialogue and that some of its members continue to call for foreign interference and continuing armament in Syria in a manner violating Annan’s plan and discouraging political dialogue.
He affirmed that the illegal flow of weapons to armed groups in Syria is continuing, and that these groups are receiving better weapons which is a worrying sign that requires some sides to take serious actions.
Churkin said that UNSC was untied on two decisions on sending the observer mission, and that everyone must commit to these decisions and pressure all sides to implement Annan’s plan, including the sides that don’t respect the plan and continue to militarize the conflict and encourage and arm groups to continue fighting.
He added that Russia isn’t satisfied over the current situation, and that it’s taking every possible step to improve the situation and advance Annan’s plan.
Churkin also said that ending the missions of Syrian ambassadors and diplomats in some countries might be misconstrued by those who wish to see foreign military intervention and more fighting in Syria, which should cause some countries to consider the repercussions.
He said that discussing sanctions is negative, as there are harsh unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria that had severe ramifications on citizens and caused shortages in fuel and other materials.
Churkin affirmed that Russia supports political settlement in Syria and that it doesn’t pick sides, saying that speaking about other options would be a disastrous scenario that would have grave consequences on the entire region.
He called on all countries to think carefully before taking any step or making any gestures or insinuations outside Annan’s plan and the UNSC, in addition to calling on those who arm the opposition to reconsider their options and study the repercussions of their actions.
Churkin added that the results of the UN investigation regarding the crime that took place in al-Houla will appear within a few days.
In response to a question on whether Russia will defend Syria no matter what others do, Churkin said that “Russia will do the right thing for Syria, the Syrian people, the Russian Federation and the international community.”