SVG

Gonsalves condemns violence in Syria

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — This country on Thursday joined the international chorus of nations condemning violence in Houla, Syria as the civil war there intensifies.

“The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines condemns in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent killings and wounding of civilian men, women and children in Houla,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said in a ministerial statement in Parliament.

“Our country proudly counts among its citizens many individuals and families who were born in Syria and Lebanon, and who now make myriad contributions to the vibrant tapestry of a modern and cosmopolitan Vincentian society,” said Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibility for citizenship issues.

“We weep with our Syrian brothers and sisters at the deepening spiral of violence, unrest and loss of life occurring in this civil war, while steadfastly advocating a course of peaceful diplomacy and strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter,” he further stated.

Gonsalves, who also has ministerial responsibility for national security, said his government “remains committed to the application of peaceful diplomatic and political solutions to the root causes of the on-going civil war.

“We are fully supportive of the efforts of [former U.N. secretary-general] Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria. Kofi Annan’s Six-Point Plan must be actively supported by all peace-loving states and fully implemented by all parties to the Syrian conflict,” he told lawmakers.

Among other things, the plan calls for commitment “to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country”.

Gonsalves said that his government was calling for the relevant national and international authorities to conduct a full investigation into the atrocities committed in Houla, with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable and brought to justice”.

He also extended his government’s “deepest and most sincere condolences to the affected families” and said that the deepening civil war in Syria “is of grave concern” to his government.

“We are also concerned with the potential for the conflict to spread beyond Syria, as has been the case with recent cross-border skirmishes in the Lebanese Republic and the Republic of Turkey.

“The active presence of radical Islamist terrorists, including the confirmed involvement of al-Qaida in anti-government violence, is cause for particular alarm,” he said.

Gonsalves told lawmakers that the “complexity of this conflict, its potential for further escalation or expansion to neighbouring states, the increase in sectarian strife, and the growing al-Qaida presence in Syria all demand coordinated diplomatic efforts that will lead to a cease-fire by all parties, the commencement of genuine dialogue between the government and the opposition, and a peaceful resolution to the crisis crafted by the Syrian people themselves”.

He listed the three principles that guide Kingstown when formulating its foreign policy stance “on situations involving civil war and sustained violent conflict”, such as in Syria.

The principles call for the “immediate cessation of all violence between and among all parties to the conflict”.

Further, the principles say there should also be “commencement of an inclusive political process geared towards a locally-crafted and negotiated solution to the conflict, without undue outside interference”.

Additionally, the international community “should not take actions that will exacerbate the violence, make a negotiated solution more difficult, or serve as a pretext for military intervention or undue external interference in the sovereign affairs of states,” according to the principles.

“As such, in the case of Syria, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines remains committed to the application of peaceful diplomatic and political solutions to the root causes of the on-going civil war,” he said as he voiced Kingstown’s support for the former U.N. chief’s effort.

“In that regard, care must be taken to ensure that the mandate to assist all victims of the Syrian conflict is not misused as a pretext to engage in activities that will exacerbate or prolong the civil war. Threats of intervention or efforts to further militarise the conflict only undermine the efforts of the Special Envoy and a de-legitimise the internationally-agreed Six-Point Peace Plan,” he said.

Gonsalves said that Houla, in the days before the statement, “was the site of a protracted military conflict between Syrian Government forces and those of the Free Syrian Army, the main opposition force.

“Additionally, there is uncontroverted evidence that scores of civilians in Houla were subject to severe physical abuse, and many were shot at close range,” he said and noted that those responsible were still at large.

“The vicious massacre of innocent women and children in Houla is but the latest, deeply disturbing example of the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground in Syria,” he said.

The text of the Kofi Anan six-point plan is as follows:

  • commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;
  • commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country. To this end, the Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres. As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism. Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;
  • ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level;
  • intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
  • ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
  • respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

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Discussion

16 thoughts on “Gonsalves condemns violence in Syria

  1. PETER! AH THINK GONSALVES READ YOUR POST…WELL WELL WELL…GOOD FOR GONSALVES…BUT AH GUESS NO MONEY FOR THE AIRPORT IS FORTHCOMING NOW…DON’T WORRY RALPHIE, STICK TO YOUR PRINCIPLES, EVEN IF IT MEANS ABANDONING THE AIRPORT FOR THE TIME BEING…DR LEWIS WILL FINISH IT WHEN HE GETS THERE IN 2015.

    Posted by Saadiss | June 4, 2012, 01:46
  2. Hold up a sec didn’t they have some march in support of the syrian Govt a while back? Have they realized that they wont get money from Assad?Like with Gadaffi they wait until the very last moment to withdraw support

    Posted by Joe | June 4, 2012, 10:48
  3. I hope Hans King sign off on this one, after all he led a motorcade through the streets of kingstown supporting the syrian government.

    Posted by vincy in bad shape | June 4, 2012, 10:49
  4. I TOLD YOU ALL SO. GONSALVES NEEDS A NEW STORY TO SHOW THE EMIR OF QATAR THAT HE SUPPORTS WHAT HE THE EMIR SUPPORTS, ITS PART OF THE SCROUNG POLICY TO TRY AND FOOL QATAR.

    Well I have already informed the Emir about Gonsalves and all of his past political life. The Emir hates communists.

    Gonsalves can you explain why in the aftermath of the Houla massacre, at the UN your son on your instructions supported Syria murdering all those inocents, by abstaining from a General Assembly vote against Syria.

    IN SUPPORT OF SYRIA
    By voting against the Motion:
    Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
    By Abstaining from the Motion:
    Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Cameroon, Comoros, Fiji, Lebanon, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam.

    THOSE WHO VOTED TO CONDEMN SYRIA FOR THE MASSACRE
    In favor of the Motion:
    Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Zambia.

    GONSALVES, you may be able to fool parliament, but you cannot fool the people who are following your every move. and now you cannot fool the Emir of Qatar

    Posted by Peter | June 4, 2012, 11:12
  5. IS THIS WHAT’S CALLED GONSALVESEY DIPLOMACY, OR JUST A TRICK DEVISED BY GONSALVES IN AN ATTEMPT TO MILK THEM FOR THE AIRPORT MONEY?

    EVERY VOTE EVER MADE BY OUR SVG AMBASADORS AT THE UN, YOU CAN@T LIE TO US AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

    ALL THIS CRAP IS SEEN AS NORMAL BY ALL THESE VINCENTION MARXIST SCUM BAGS.

    REMEMBER MAURICE BISHOP INSTRUCTED HIS GOVERNMENT TO KEEP TWO SETS OF BOOKS AND FIGURES TO FOOL THE IMF AND WORLD BANK. THAT SHOWED THE MARXIST SCUM BAGS WILL SAY OR DO ANYTHING TO GET FUNDS TO STAY IN POWER.

    Posted by Peter | June 4, 2012, 11:20
  6. AND GONSALVES SAID “I AM HERE TO FINISH THE WORK OF MAURICE BISHOP”

    Posted by Peter | June 4, 2012, 12:56
  7. Good work Gunzee! Now, where is your apology and statement against the beat up of Opposition politicians right ya in we parliment? Yo gotta be consistent to be credible……yo know what ah mean?

    Posted by AHA | June 5, 2012, 14:40
  8. PETER, do you think BILL CLINTON is a MARXIST SCUM or is he a CAPITALIST SCUM??

    Moreover, do you think the USA GOVERNMENT is a MARXIST SCUM or a CAPITALIST SCUM?

    US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide
    Classified papers show Clinton was aware of ‘final solution’ to eliminate Tutsis
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/mar/31/usa.rwanda

    Rory Carroll in Johannesburg

    The Guardian, Wednesday 31 March 2004 10.59 EST

    President Bill Clinton’s administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.
    Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.

    Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president had been told of a planned “final solution to eliminate all Tutsis” before the slaughter reached its peak.

    It took Hutu death squads three months from April 6 to murder an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus and at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington’s top policymakers.

    The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his senior officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.

    “It’s powerful proof that they knew,” said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.

    The National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute based in Washington DC, went to court to obtain the material.

    It discovered that the CIA’s national intelligence daily, a secret briefing circulated to Mr Clinton, the then vice-president, Al Gore, and hundreds of senior officials, included almost daily reports on Rwanda. One, dated April 23, said rebels would continue fighting to “stop the genocide, which … is spreading south”.

    Three days later the state department’s intelligence briefing for former secretary of state Warren Christopher and other officials noted “genocide and partition” and reported declarations of a “final solution to eliminate all Tutsis”.

    However, the administration did not publicly use the word genocide until May 25 and even then diluted its impact by saying “acts of genocide”.

    Ms Des Forges said: “They feared this word would generate public opinion which would demand some sort of action and they didn’t want to act. It was a very pragmatic determination.”

    The administration did not want to repeat the fiasco of US intervention in Somalia, where US troops became sucked into fighting. It also felt the US had no interests in Rwanda, a small central African country with no minerals or strategic value.

    William Ferroggiaro, of the National Security Archive, said the system had worked. “Diplomats, intelligence agencies, defence and military officials – even aid workers – provided timely information up the chain,” he said.

    “That the Clinton administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda.”

    Many analysts and historians fault Washington and other western capitals not just for failing to support the token force of overwhelmed UN peacekeepers but for failing to speak out more forcefully during the slaughter.

    Some of the Hutu extremists orchestrating events might have heeded such warnings, they have suggested.

    Mr Clinton has apologised for those failures but the declassified documents undermine his defence of ignorance. “The level of US intelligence is really amazing,” said Mr Ferroggiaro. “A vast array of information was available.”

    On a visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in 1998 Mr Clinton apologised for not acting quickly enough or immediately calling the crimes genocide.

    In what was widely seen as an attempt to diminish his responsibility, he said: “It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror.”

    A spokesperson for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation in New York said the allegations would be relayed to the former president.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | June 5, 2012, 14:53
  9. The good thing about assad is that he doesn’t rape his own people,nor does he get his hands dirty personally..unlike Saddam and “other leaders”

    Posted by Joe | June 6, 2012, 07:32
  10. VINCYPOWA, we are not debating what other countries may or may not of done. We are debating Gonsalves and his Marxist antics. Your frequent attempts to throw up smoke sreens is pathetic. Whatever has been done elsewhere cannot excuse what Donkey Dung Gonsalves is doing and has done in the name of SVG. It cannot excuse Gonsalves perpetration of decency.

    So put that in your cottage and smoke it, snurge fanatic.

    Posted by Peter | June 6, 2012, 09:55
  11. Is it a requirement to be gay, to be press secretary to the ULP, just asking the question.

    Posted by Peter | June 6, 2012, 09:57
  12. JOE, what other leaders?

    Posted by Peter | June 6, 2012, 09:58
  13. MESSAGE TO DONKEY DUNG GONSALVES VIA THE SCUM MARXIST DOCTOR SLATER

    IN SYRIA YESTERDAY THERE WERE TWO MORE VILLAGES ATTACKED AND DOZENS OF WOMEN, CHILDREN, TODDLERS AND SMALL BABIES, SHOT IN THE HEAD, MURDERED.

    NOW LETS SEE HOW YOU INSTRUCT YOUR SON TO VOTE AT THE UN ON THE NEXT VOTES AGAINST SYRIA.

    NOT FORGETTING THAT YOU SUPPORTED THE SYRIANS IN THE PREVIOUS MASSACRE.

    I WILL BE WATCHING AND REPORTING.

    Posted by Peter | June 7, 2012, 08:50
  14. SLATER THE PEOPLE HATER, TELL GONSALVES THIS, ONLY A POSITIVE VOTE AGAINST SYRIA WILL B E ACCEPTABLE. TO VINCENTIANS, ABSTENTION FROM VOTING, A NO VOTE, OR NOT TURNING UP TO VOTE ARE ALL METHODS USED TO SUPPORT SYRIA. IF ANY OF THESE ACTION OCCUR, I WILL ENSURE THAT EVERY COUNTRY IN THE CARIBBEAN, MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE KNOW. BECAUSE I WILL ENSURE THEY KNOW..

    Posted by Peter | June 8, 2012, 09:23
  15. GONSALVES, TELL THE BOY TO SPEND LESS TIME AT LUNCH, HE IS WASTING OUR MONEY.

    Posted by Peter | June 8, 2012, 09:25
  16. IT WAS FOLLOWING A TWO AND A HALF HOUR LUNCH THAT HE CRASHED THE BARRIERS, SPED ACROSS THE CONCOURSE AND ACTED UNDIPLOMATICLY TO A POLICE OFFICER. THUS BRINGING SVG INTO INTERNATIONAL DISREPUTE.

    Posted by Peter | June 8, 2012, 09:28

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