- By Colum Lynch
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. national security advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch 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. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.
The U.N. Security Council tonight issued a statement that "condemned in the strongest terms" Syria’s shelling of the Turkish town of Akcakale — an attack that killed five civilians, all of them women and children — and voiced their "sincerest condolences" to the Turkish government and the families of the victims.
The statement, which was backed by Russia and China, marked the first time that the U.N. Security Council has weighed in on the situation in Syria since July 19, when Moscow and Beijing vetoed a resolution threatening sanctions against Damascus.
The 15-nation council reached agreement on the text after more than a day of intensive talks that pitted Russia against the United States and other Western powers.
Moscow, which has served as Damascus’s closest ally on the council, sought to strip out any language that directly accused the Syrian government of responsibility for the mortar strike, which triggered a series of retaliatory artillery strikes against Syrian targets.
Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin also sought to remove any characterization of the Syrian action that might serve as a trigger for deeper Security Council involvement in a crisis. Churkin also sought to include a provision calling on both Syria and Turkey to show restraint.
The final statement was softened somewhat to accommodate some of Russia’s concerns. For instance, it does not directly conclude that Syria’s action constituted a threat to internationalpeace and stability.
Instead, it merely noted that the mortar attack "highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on its neighbors and on regional peace and stability." The statement demands that "such violations of international law stop immediately and are not repeated," but while it issues a call for restraint it doesn’t specify who needs to exercise restraint.
Churkin, meanwhile, said he would be back in the council tomorrow to press for a condemnation of a deadly bomb attack in Syria’s second city, Aleppo, which targeted a Syrian officers club and left more than 30 people dead.
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