The meeting was convened by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France, which holds the Council Presidency for August, amid warnings that military action to secure civilian safe zones in Syria was still an option.
But diplomats said the Security Council impasse between Western nations and Russia and China means a resolution to approve such a move would be impossible. Besides, there appeared to no support among a majority of Council members for the safe zones proposal made by Turkey. The meeting, therefore, produced neither a resolution nor a statement approved by the 15 Security Council members.
Ankara has repeatedly urged the United Nations to protect displaced Syrians inside their country as the number of refugees swells in neighbouring States.
France and Britain said ahead of the meeting that civilian safe havens were being considered.
“We’re ruling nothing out and we have contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “We also have to be clear that anything like a safe zone requires military intervention.”
During the debate in the Security Council, Pakistan’s acting Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar strongly condemned the use of use force by all sides to the conflict in Syria and called for a settlement based on UN’s six-point peace plan.
“Syrian people have suffered enough. Bloodshed in Syria must come to an immediate end,” he said.
More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in April last year. There have been reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
“It is essential that the Syrian Government and (Opposition) forces create conditions necessary for national dialogue and reconciliation,” he said. “It is only through inclusive dialogue and a political process that Syria can chart out a course towards a stable, secure and prosperous future,” Ambassador Tarar added.
“We strongly condemn the use of force by all sides in Syria. The Syrian people need political space to regain societal equilibrium which is so essential for peace building.”
Referring to the exodus of people to the neighbouring countries, Tarar said the initial joint needs assessment carried out by the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Syrian Government had kindled optimism, but subsequent developments had dashed all such hopes. The current humanitarian crisis in Syria, he said, could not be addressed in isolation, but rather must be considered in a holistic manner.
Indeed, he said the Syrian people needed political space to regain the equilibrium that was essential for peace-building. “The primary responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of Syrian people rests with the Syrian Government, “the Pakistani envoy said.
“We call upon the Syrian Government to make sure that rights of all its citizens are protected in conformity with its national and international obligations,” he said, adding, “The Syrian opposition should also abjure the use of force.”
As for the international community, Ambassador Tarar said there was a need for “creative thinking and a departure from stated positions”. “We reiterate our call on the Council to send a united message to all parties for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.”
Former UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan offered the best possible solution to the fratricidal conflict in Syria, the Pakistani envoy said. “An international community, working with unity and clarity of purpose, is the only hope for the people of Syria.”
At the same time, the Pakistani envoy said ?the Syrian crisis should not distract the international community’s attention from the unresolved Palestinian issue. “The Palestine issue remains at the heart of tension and conflict in the Middle Eastern region.”
Pakistan, he said, condemns illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands and efforts to change the Arab character of the Holy Land.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian State on Palestinian lands with al-Quds al Sharif as its capital.