- By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. He previously wrote FP’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He was also the silver medal recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for a three-part series documenting the U.N.’s systemic failure to protect civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Colum’s investigations have uncovered an American spy operation in Iraq, Russia’s monopoly of the $1 billion-a-year U.N. aircraft leasing market, and a Chinese diplomatic campaign to silence U.N. investigators scrutinizing Chinese arms deals in Africa. His deep digs into the U.N. bureaucracy have exposed sexual misconduct by U.N. blue helmets from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and documented monumental dysfunction in the U.N. office charged with rooting out misconduct and corruption. He now devotes his reporting chops to documenting President Donald Trump’s efforts to reorder the international system. Born in Los Angeles, Colum received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. Before moving to FP, Colum reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. He has appeared frequently on national news programs, including the Lehrer NewsHour, as well as on MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC.
The U.N. Security Council’s European powers, backed by a group of like-minded Arab states, today drafted a resolution condemning Syria’s brutal repression of protesters and endorsing an Arab League plan calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
The four-page draft, which was obtained by Turtle Bay, instructs U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "to take all necessary measures," including through appoint a special envoy, to support the Arabs effort to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria.
The development comes after the Arab League secretary general, Nabil Elaraby, and the Qatari prime minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, wrote to the U.N. secretary general to request the Security Council convene a ministerial meeting on Syria, where they could brief the council on the league’s latest diplomatic initiative.
The move set the stage for a potential conflict with Russia, which has criticized the Arab League for trying to foist a political settlement on the Syrian leadership. Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin told Turtle Bay that the Arab League was seeking to impose a "pre-cooked," political settlement on the Syrian government, and insisted that any acceptable plan would needed to be agreed to by both the government and the opposition.
The council’s four European powers, led by Britain, and supported by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco, are hoping to put their resolution to a vote next week. They are hoping that a broad show of support for the plan by the Arab leadership will persuade Russia to back down.
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