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‘UN must act to end Syria unrest’

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Press TV has interviewed Nabil Mikhail, professor at George Washington University, to talk about the United Nations and its silence towards crimes committed by militants in Syria.

What follows is a rush transcript of the interview:

Press TV: When it comes to an atrocity that happens elsewhere, the United Nations is quick to condemn it, but when it comes to Syria and crimes committed by the insurgents, why is it that we see delays and even sometimes a muted response by the UN in such instances?

Mikhail: This is definitely wrong on the part of the United Nations, because the UN is such a helpless situation. It is unable to enforce any type of order, not the least a ceasefire or condemn at least verbally what is going on. The United Nations should insist on an immediate and a comprehensive ceasefire from every side in the Syria conflict. Otherwise, we will hear of atrocities every day. The United Nations has to play a bigger role in the Syrian crisis. Stop all the killing, period.

Press TV: Why do you think the Syria opposition refuses to discuss the issue of terrorism that the Syrian government has proposed to talk about?

Mikhail: I would say this is something wrong on the part of the opposition. They have to discuss the issue of terror candidly. They have to be candid. They have to be forthcoming. They have to be basically present at Geneva and provide the full gamut of facts, who they are, who they would like to join, whom they are suspicious of, who are the terrorist elements that could undermine the whole peace process in Syria. The opposition should talk loudly about atrocities from every side, because this is the only way it can be heard. This is the only way that the Geneva process can be legitimate.

Press TV: What are the prospects of a negotiated solution to the crisis in Syria?

Mikhail: It has to be a negotiated solution, because yes civil wars could end in fighting. I mean, the American civil war ended when one side conquered and defeated the other, but in the case of Syria, it seems that neither the government is trying to eliminate the opposition and the opposition cannot basically sway over the government. So it’s a very very sad and protracted process. So this is why you have to give Geneva legitimacy. Confess all the errors. Try to confront the bad facts that there terror groups, that there is terrorism practiced by so many sides.

I believe in only a peaceful solution, because war is not a tool like other civil wars. Any civil history would recognize that civil wars ended by one side defeating the other, but this is not the case in Syria. You have to reach a negotiated solution and the United Nations has to insist on its mandate for collective security, otherwise Syria could face a very prolonged and bad decade to come and everyone will be the loser.

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