by William M. Reilly
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The civil war in Syria was brought to the fore on Thursday as scores of world leaders deplored the loss of life and the use of chemical weapons in the Arab country during the first three days of the annual General Debate of the UN General Assembly.
The leaders called for a political and peaceful solution to the Syria crisis which, according to the United Nations, has killed more than 100,000 and forced more than 2 million to flee their country.
Slovenian President Borut Pahor said, "We are faced with another human tragedy unfolding before our eyes in Syria." "After more than two years of brutal violence against civilians, including women and children, we, the leaders of the world, have still not found a political solution in the framework of the United Nations."
"The unconscionable use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only considered a war crime, it is an assault against our common humanity," he said.
"It is important that diplomacy prevails and the issue brought back to the UN and to the Security Council," he said. "The Security Council should live up to its responsibility and use all appropriate measures to comprehensively address the situation in Syria. Finding a political solution remains the only viable and lasting solution to the crisis and to ensure stability in the region."
Syria has agreed to comply with a U.S.-Russian deal to place its chemical weapons under international control after UN inspectors concluded chemical weapons had been used in the Aug. 21 attack that killed more than 1,400 people, without laying the blame on any party.
"The Arab Spring today is reaching ultimate suffering in Syria, " said President Mohamed Marzouki of Tunisia, birthplace of the spate of recent uprisings in Middle East nations. "The violence in Syria has astonished us from the beginning. It is escalating. It is so brutal today, so brutal that history has never witnessed such brutality."
"We have long warned against factionalism, sectarianism and intervention by others, whether states or so called jihadi groups, including some Tunisian groups." he said. "We know when they return (they) will be a danger to us."
"There's a need for a political solution to end the nightmare," Marzouki said. "We also want your support for prosecution in the International Criminal Court," adding that with more than 100,000 people reportedly killed, "justice delayed can not return the dead to life."
"Military forces and weapons are being used to settle disputes, " said Mongolia President Elbegdorj Tsakhia. "The grave situation in Syria is the latest example. We express the hope that the U.S.- Russian initiative will bear fruit and lead to a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict."
"Mongolia firmly stands for non-proliferation and complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction," he said. "We cannot tolerate the use of chemical weapons and strongly condemn violation of the universally accepted international law."
Baron Divavesi Waqa, president of the Pacific island nation of Nauru, offered prayers "to the millions of people whose lives have been affected by the conflict in Syria. We stand in horror at the scale of human atrocity and I am left to ask: do we always have to wait for well over 100,000 people to be killed before we can find solutions to global peace and security?"
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe expressed appreciation for the role the United Nations should play "in furthering multilateralism in preference to unilateralism. In this regard, we applaud the consultations and negotiations on the eventual destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged the " realization of peace between Palestine and Israel as an imperative to achieve a comprehensive peace between the Arab countries and Israel, according to the resolutions of the United Nations; we bear in mind the current volatile reality and unprecedented dynamics gripping our region."
"While we condemned the crime of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, we have affirmed our rejection of a military solution and the need to find a peaceful political solution to fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people," he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began with "a new pledge about the situation in Syria."
"The use of chemical weapons has aroused profound shock and anger in the people in Japan," he said. "Chemical weapons must never be used again. I hereby declare that Japan will provide thorough support and the greatest possible cooperation towards the international community's efforts to dispose Syria's chemical weapons."
"Japan will continue to provide assistance also to areas under the control of the opposition groups, where it is difficult for assistance from the international community to reach," Abe said, adding his nation was training workers for medical equipment. "We will also deliver portable X-ray devices and other medical equipment to those areas."
"Japan regards the cessation of violence, initiation of political dialogue and improvement of appalling humanitarian conditions as issues of urgency," the prime minister said, announcing 60 million U.S. dollars in additional humanitarian aid.
"We are determined to conduct such assistance in parallel with the process of political dialogue, notably the Geneva II Conference, and to move forward in cooperation with the international community," he said.