UN Security Council credibility at stake on Syria sanctions talk -France

UN Security Council credibility at stake on Syria sanctions talk -France
France's Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2017

UN Security Council credibility at stake on Syria sanctions talk -France

UN Security Council credibility at stake on Syria sanctions talk -France

UNITED NATIONS: The credibility of the United Nations Security Council is at stake as it meets to discuss possible sanctions against Syria for the use of chemical weapons against civilians, the head of the French mission to the United Nations said on Friday.
“If the Security Council is not able to unite on such a vital, literally, vital question of proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian population, then what?” said French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre.
“What is at stake here frankly is the credibility of the Security Council,” he told reporters.
Delattre said that beyond existing “clear evidence” that chemical weapons have been used in Syria against civilians, there are “converging indications that such weapons continue to be used.”
“On the scale of the threats to peace and security, we are at 10 here,” Delattre said. “The ‘doing nothing’ attitude or the ‘talking only’ attitude are not an option confronted with such a threat.”
The draft resolution seeks to blacklist 11 Syrian military commanders and officials and 10 government and related entities involved in the development and production of chemical weapons.
It calls for an asset freeze and travel ban for the individuals and entities across all UN member states.
Two diplomats told Reuters on Thursday it was likely that Russia, the largest international backer of the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, would veto the text.
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: “We’ve worked with the UK and France to make sure this resolution comes on board and then we’ll find out which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons and which ones are really going to say this is a problem.”
A joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Daesh militants had used mustard gas, according to reports seen by Reuters last year.
Assad’s government has denied its forces have used chemical weapons.
The UN vote could coincide with talks between representatives of Assad’s government and his opponents with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura, which started on Thursday in Geneva.
Delattre said he saw no contradiction in raising the subject of sanctions on Syria as the Geneva talks were being held.
The nearly six-year-long conflict in Syria has killed at least 300,000 people and displaced millions, according to groups that monitor the war.


Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
Updated 7 min 2 sec ago

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
  • The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases”

COPENHAGEN: The UAE said on Friday it was in talks with Denmark after the Nordic country temporarily halted all flights arriving from the Gulf Arab state, a major travel hub, due to potentially unreliable coronavirus tests in Dubai.

Denmark’s transport ministry said the five-day travel restrictions, comes after concerns were raised about the coronavirus tests administered in Dubai before departure. It added it had taken the decision after a detailed tip-off, without elaborating.
“All accredited UAE testing centers are regularly subject to strict quality checks,” the UAE foreign ministry said, adding there are severe penalties for non-compliance with international standards to ensure the highest level of quality in testing.
The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases” behind the decision in order to guarantee the safety of all travelers.
Denmark earlier this month made it mandatory for travelers to show a negative test from the previous 24 hours before departure toward Denmark from all countries.
Late on Friday, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter 50 persons with COVID-19 had flown in from Dubai in January alone. 33 of those arrived after Denmark made it mandatory to test negative for COVID-19 before departure.
Several Danish celebrities, including former footballer Nicklas Bendtner, were criticized earlier this month after Danish media reported they had traveled to regional tourism hub Dubai on holiday despite the government advising against going abroad to limit the spread of the coronavirus.