05/30/2013, 00.00
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Mgr Tomasi: no to intensification in Syria, yes to political dialogue

The permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva calls for an end to arms shipments to Syria, and the start of peaceful negotiations to set up to a government that includes all component communities of Syrian society. The UN Commission for Human Rights also demands a stop to weapons sales to the warring parties. However, European nations lift a ban on military aid to the rebels. Various countries have already sold weapons to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, allies and backers of the Syrian opposition.

Geneva (AsiaNews) - In order to stops a "useless and destructive tragedy that mortgages the future of Syria and the Middle East", the "way forward is not by a military intensification of the armed conflict but by dialogue and reconciliation," said yesterday Mgr Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, during the meeting of the UN Commission for Human Rights on "The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and the recent killings in Al Qusayr."

Mgr Tomasi's words go against the demands of the Syrian opposition, which is asking the West for military aid against the Assad regime. The urgency of their requests is motivated by the risk that the long besieged city of Al Qusayr might fall into the hands of Syria's regular army.

A few days ago, the European Union lifted a weapons embargo against the Syrian opposition. Some observers noted however that ban was never really respected. In fact, during the two years of civil war in Syria, several European countries sold weapons to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are allied with the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian government's main adversary.

In order to justify the official end of the ban, European nations, especially France and Britain,  cite the presence of thousands of Lebanese Hizbollah fighters in Syria in support of Assad-no word however on thousands of jihadi fighters from around the Middle East (and Europe) fighting against the Syrian army.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay slammed Syria for the presence of "foreign troops" in Qusayr. "The situation in Syria reflects a colossal failure to protect civilians. Day after day, children, women and men suffer the brutality of unbridled violence and gross human rights violations by all parties," she told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council. "The message from all of us should be the same: we will not support this conflict with arms, ammunition, politics or religion."

"Lives have been destroyed by the tens of thousands," said the Holy See diplomat. A "a million and half persons have been forced to flee abroad as refugees; more than four million people have lost their homes; and civilians have been targeted by warring parties in total disregard of humanitarian law."

"How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?" he said, citing Pope Francis. Hence.

For him, "Silencing the guns is the priority". No efforts must be spared to find a political solution through peaceful talks that would lead to a government acceptable to all component communities of Syrian society.

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For Holy See religious freedom as a fundamental human right is still abused and violated
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