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UN Council condemns Kenya attacks

  |   Dec. 13, 2002 at 7:18 PM
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council in a 14-1 vote Friday condemned last month's coordinated bombing of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, hotel popular with Israelis and a missile attempt on a civilian Israeli airliner departing Mombasa.

Al Qaida subsequently claimed responsibility for both Nov. 28 The numbing, 10 miles north of Mombasa, killed 10 Kenyans and 3 Israelis. The missiles missed.

Syria was the only council member to oppose the resolution, saying it objected to identifying Israeli civilians as among the victims.

The U.S. sponsored-resolution "condemned in the strongest possible terms the terrorist bomb attack ... and the attempted missile attack on Arkia Israeli Airlines Flight 582" and other recent terrorist acts in various countries, saying that it regarded such acts, "like any act of international terrorism, as a threat to international peace and security."

In its resolution, the council urged all countries to cooperate in efforts "to find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks."

The measure also expressed sympathy and condolences to the people and the governments of Kenya and Israel and to the victims of the terrorist attack and their families.

"The sponsor of the resolution insists on drafting language that deviates from the main purpose of such a resolution which is to conduct the international terrorist attack in Kikambala, Kenya, which led to the deaths of a number of innocent civilians," said Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe of Syria, the only Arab member of the panel.

"Syria has always been among the first to support the two previous resolutions which were adopted by the council ... which condemned the tragic events in both Bali (Indonesia) and Moscow," he said, referring to the theater hostage scenario. "It was our wish that a resolution would be unanimously adopted by all the members on the events that were perpetrated in Kenya along the line of the two resolutions, in the same manner, instead of resorting to expand the scope of this resolution."

Wehbe cited "the unacceptable political connotations and references that reflect negatively on the situation in the Middle East region and the Arab occupied territories" as a reason for casting the sole negative vote.

"Syria unreservedly condemns the terrorist acts in Kikambala, Kenya, that led to the death of several innocent civilians and total solidarity with the people and government of Kenya in the face of such terrorist attacks," he said. "Syria reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and reaffirms its commitment to ... combat international terrorism."

However, he said, "It cannot accept the mention of Israel" when the Bali and Moscow theater resolutions did not mention the nationalities of victims.

"Knowing and taking into consideration the fact that Israel and the inclusion of its name at a time when it is exercising the highest form of terrorism and daily committing new crimes against humanity in the Arab occupied territories," Wehbe said he had to oppose the measure, citing, in particular, Israeli forces "killing five innocent civilians in Gaza this morning when we have to adopt this draft resolution."

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