Issue 75: Syria’s First Statement as a Member of the Security Council

Syrian Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad, in his country’s maiden speech to the UN Security Council, compared the terror attacks on the World Trade Center to Israel’s razing of houses used by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza.

Analysis: In Syria’s first public appearance as a member of the Security Council, Fayssal Mekdad, deputy UN representative, stated at a Council meeting on counterterrorism, “We must note the scene of tens of Palestinian houses which have been demolished by Israeli tanks in the Rafah camps a few days ago is not much different from the scene of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed by terrorists.”

In this time when the Security Council is engaged in the task of combating terrorism, Mr. Mekdad’s false analogy demonstrates that Syria is unfit to serve on this important UN body.

However, this is not the first time that a Syrian official has made scandalous allegations.

In a May 2001 meeting with Pope John Paul II, Syrian leader Bashar Assad stated: “We see our brothers in Palestine being killed and tortured… We see [Israel] attacking sacred Christian and Muslim places in Palestine… They try to kill the principle of religions in the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ…”

Yet those who hoped that a position on the Security Council would reform the rhetoric of the Syrian regime were to be disappointed. Looking to divert attention away from its own ongoing support for Hizballah terrorist activity, Mr. Mekdad used his country’s new position on the Security Council to make comparisons between the destruction of several dozen homes used for cover by Palestinian gunmen and the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.

This demonstrates that members of the General Assembly acted irresponsibly in electing Syria to the Security Council. Syria’s record as an active sponsor of terror disqualifies it from making any positive contribution to the Council’s efforts against terrorism.

Other members of the Security Council should make a concerted effort to prevent Syria from derailing the Council from its goals of international peace and security.

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