Diplomat: U.N. cannot keep quiet on Syria
NEW YORK - Qatar led the 22-member League of Arab States in negotiations to draft a proposal calling on the United Nations to demand Syrian President Bashar Assad step down, and it was the first Arab nation to suggest sending troops to end the bloodshed in Syria.
In a report broadcast last month, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, told CBS' "60 Minutes" that Arab troops should be deployed to Syria to stop the killing that has claimed the lives of more than 5,400 Syrians since protests began nearly a year ago.
Now, the President of the U.N. General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, told CBS News that peacekeepers may in fact be the solution to the Syrian crisis: "If Syria will not be stable, or in a civil war, that might lead to really a very bad situation, not only in Syria, but for the region."
Al-Nasser said the Emir's proposal to get the Arab League involved - in an effort to bring stability and security (and perhaps a political solution) and thus end the violence - means "it would be the Arab League's responsibility to send peacekeepers," noting that the Syrian government has already rejected that suggestion.
Al-Nasser added, "There is an agreement on the table. If [Assad] is not going to fulfill that commitment, I can see no way, except more violence, more unstable situation, [which] might lead to the worst-case scenario."
To watch the complete interview with Al-Nasser click on the video player above.
On "CBS This Morning," Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani weighed in, urging Syrian President Assad to step aside, to stop the spiraling violence battering the country.
Qatar's role in the Middle East is at center stage: It set up talks between the Obama administration and the Taliban; and Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani went to Qatar to try to end the Pakistan-Afghanistan conflict. Qatar also attempted to mediate a peace deal between the government of Sudan and Darfur rebels, and spoke to both sides of the border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti.
Qatar's Prime Minister Al Thani was at the United Nations a week ago, lending support for the now-failed U.N. Security Council Resolution, and trying to persuade Russia not to veto the action: "It is part of your responsibility under the charter," he said.
How the bloody battle in Syria ends is not clear, but the international community is being blocked - even to establish a humanitarian corridor - by Russia, which is holding out hope that its only ally in the region, Syria's Assad, can hold on to power. The confrontation pits the Western nations and the Arab world against Russia (and to a lesser degree China) in what appears to be almost a Cold War era sphere-of-influence battle.
Last week, Al-Nasser strongly urged Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the Arab League, but in the interview with CBS News, Al-Nasser cut to the chase: "We cannot ignore that people are dying, children and women, and the international community is silent. It is not acceptable and it is not fair."
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