05/28/2012, 00.00
SYRIA
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For apostolic nuncio, UN condemnation is not enough to stop the killing of the innocent

The United Nations has to be late in condemning the barbaric slaughter of children since January. The recent of 108 people, including 49 children, is but the latest in a series. Mgr Zenari calls on the UN to support peace initiatives that Alawi, Sunni, Catholic and Orthodox religious leaders are promoting in Homs.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - "The massacre of innocent children is an unbearable crime and casts a dark shadow on this horrible war. However, the reaction of outrage from international organisations is not enough. The United Nations must support and give voice to the initiative of Syrian communities that are trying to react to the violence in constructive ways and not with revenge," said Mgr Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Damascus. Speaking to AsiaNews, he condemned the massacre of 108 people, including 49 children, between 25 and 26 May, in Houla, north of the city of Homs.

For the prelate, the United Nations Security Council has waited too long before condemning the endless killing of innocent people in the past few months. UN sources put the number of children killed at 500 since the start of the year. "It does not matter who is the author of these massacres, the spiral of blood and violence must stop," he prelate said.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the killing of civilians today, stressing the urgent need for an accurate inquiry into what happened. The 15-member Council blamed the Houla shelling on both sides after Russia rejected a unilateral condemnation of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan will meet the Syrian president tomorrow to redefine the objectives of the ceasefire that came into effect on 12 April but was never respected.

"UN observers are not doing very much," Mgr Zenari explained. "People do not expect the Kofi Anna plan to have any concrete results. They are trying to find alternative solutions by themselves."

Catholic, Orthodox, Alawi and Sunni leaders as well as representatives of civil society groups have been meeting in recent days in Homs, the city that has come to symbolise the uprising against the regime, in order to find a non-violent solution to the conflict.

"The aim," the nuncio said, "is to give Syrians a sign of hope, inviting them to get involved and react in a constructive and peaceful way against those who want to destroy the country,"

These initiatives will continue in the coming days and will be proposed in other Syrian cities. (S.C.)

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