Israeli strike on Syria: UN meeting ends without vote, US doesn't condemn

Published October 6th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Syria urged the U.N. Security Council to condemn an Israeli airstrike on a camp near Damascus on Sunday, while Israel defended the attack and accused its neighbor of harboring "terrorists."  

 

Syria's United Nations ambassador, Fayssal Meqdad, said the strike was blatant military aggression, telling an emergency meeting of the 15-member council that "Arabs and many people across the globe feel that Israel is above the law."  

 

According to The AP, a Syrian draft resolution condemning the attack calls for Israel to stop committing acts that could threaten regional security or expose "the already deteriorating situation in the region to dire consequences."  

 

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, said the strike inside Syria was a defensive response and did not violate international law. He accused Damascus of providing "safe harbor, training facilities, funding, logistical support to terrorist groups."  

 

"Syrian complicity and responsibility for suicide bombings is as blatant as it is repugnant. The membership of this arch sponsor of terrorism on this council is an unbearable contradiction and an embarrassment to the United Nations," Gillerman said.  

 

The meeting was adjourned after delegates said they needed time to consult with their governments.  

 

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte repeated U.S. calls from earlier in the day that both sides keep from heightening tensions in the region, and did not condemn the Israeli attack. He echoed Israel's claim that Syria is harboring "terrorists."  

 

"The United States believes that Syria is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism," Negroponte said. "We believe it is in Syria's interest, and in the broader interest of Middle East peace, for Syria to stop harboring and supporting the groups that perpetrate acts such as the one that occurred yesterday."  

 

 

Before the meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the Israeli airstrike, and a statement from his office said the U.N. chief was concerned that the "escalation of an already tense and difficult situation has the potential to broaden the scope of current conflicts in the Middle East."  

© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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