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Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 03:00 GMT
Syria objects to Israel 'as victim'
Syria's UN ambassador votes against the resolution
Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe was a lone opponent

Syria, the only Arab member of the UN Security Council, has voted against a resolution condemning the bomb attack in the Kenyan city of Mombasa last month.

The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Mikhail Wehbe, said he objected to the explicit identification of Israel as a victim at a time when Israeli troops were carrying out attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Burnt-out cars after the attack on the Paradise Hotel
There were co-ordinated attacks on a hotel and a passenger plane
Under normal circumstances this would not have been a controversial vote.

In the past, Security Council members have been unanimous in condemning what the UN calls terrorist attacks such as those that took place earlier this year in Bali and Moscow.

This time, however, it was Israeli civilians in Kenya who appeared to be the focus of the attack on a hotel near Mombasa.

Future concern

Syria - an avowed enemy of Israel - found itself unable to support a resolution that condemned the attacks and expressed the deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the Kenyan and Israeli victims.

Mr Wehbe's was the one dissenting voice when the resolution came to the vote.

Afterwards, he said Syria objected to the explicit mention of Israel in a UN resolution like this at a time when Israeli troops were carrying out what he called the "highest forms of terrorism" and "crimes against humanity" in Palestinian areas.

The Syrian decision to vote against the resolution may also reflect concern that this could open the door for future resolutions condemning Palestinian attacks inside Israel every time one takes place.


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10 Dec 02 | Africa
09 Dec 02 | Middle East
10 Nov 02 | Middle East
01 Jul 02 | Middle East
30 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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