UN chief fears Syria "proxy war"
Published Friday, August 3, 2012
UN leader Ban Ki-moon warned on Friday that the Syria conflict has become a "proxy war" between world powers and called on them to overcome rivalries to end the violence.
Ban warned the divided UN Security Council that "the immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence."
Western states and Gulf monarchies have been at odds with Russia, China and Iran over the situation in Syria, with both sides accusing the other of undermining plans for a negotiated settlement.
Ban gave his grim warning ahead of a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution ,deploring the Security Council's failure to act on the Syrian civil war and condemning the government's use of heavy weapons.
The resolution drawn up by Saudi Arabia with Western backing was eventually overwhelmingly passed – with 133 votes in favor, 12 against and 33 abstaining.
The UN secretary general said growing radicalization and extremism had been predicted at the start of the conflict in March 2011.
"The next step was also forewarned: a proxy war, with regional and international players arming one side or the other. All of these dire predictions have come to pass," Ban told the 193 member General Assembly.
Ban also turned his fire on the Security Council which he said had become "paralyzed" by divisions over Syria.
Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions on Syria, accusing Western nations of seeking foreign intervention in Syria.
"Now, with the situation having worsened, they must again find common ground," Ban said.