Foreign Minister warns against “trivializing” the blood of Syrian civilians

March 10, 2012

Addressing the 137th session of the Arab League Council of Foreign Ministers in Cairo today, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal condemned the lack of international action to end the bloodshed in Syria. Specifically denouncing the failure of the United Nations Security Council to pass an Arab League-sponsored resolution aimed at ending the crisis, he stated, “The lax and feeble position by the states which caused the failure of the Security Council’s resolution and voted against the resolution of the General Assembly with regard to the Syrian issue gave the Syrian regime license for persisting in brutal practices against the Syrian people, without pity or mercy.” Prince Saud said that the terrible rise in the numbers of dead and injured in Idlib, Homs – particularly in Baba Amr – and even Damascus and Aleppo starkly demonstrates the results of the objection to the passage of the resolution, which could have helped to prevent bloodshed and save lives.

Accusing certain states of trivializing the lives and blood of innocent civilians, the Saudi Foreign Minister warned, “The parties that are still taking positions which would hinder any Arab or international move will bear the moral and humanitarian responsibility for what may happen in Syria if they continue their positions that are feeble and oblivious to the security and interests of the Syrian people.”

Noting the participation of a Russian delegation at the meeting, Prince Saud commented, “We see in the presence of [Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov an indication of the Russian Federation’s care for the situation in Syria and we welcome him now in our meeting. However, we wish that this interest be translated in a way that is reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s positions supportive of Arab causes that have always been appreciated by our people. We do not see a way for this except by supporting the decisions of the Arab League’s Council for dealing with the situation in Syria.”

Prince Saud insisted that the crisis has reached a limit “requiring us to act quickly and seriously in a way that gives the Syrian people a glimmer of hope for the possibility of ending their cruel and growing ordeal day by day.” The Kingdom, he said, wishes success to the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, on his mission to ease the suffering of the population. However, Prince Saud pointed out, it is necessary that Annan’s mandate not be limited to solely humanitarian concerns, but also to addressing the security situation. While it is necessary to provide relief aid, he noted, the “bitter reality” of the situation “prevents benefit from this assistance and any form of relief if the ground for it is not prepared.”

After the meeting concluded, the Arab League Ministerial Conference issued a final resolution calling on the Syrian government to immediately cease all violence, protect civilians, cede to the demands of the Syrian people for reform, release all political detainees arrested during recent events, withdraw military equipment from civilian areas, and allow humanitarian groups and the media access to all areas. It also stressed the Arab League’s firm position in favor of maintaining the unity, stability and territorial integrity of Syria and avoiding any military intervention.