NEW YORK ( — As the Syrian crisis deepens amid daily attacks on innocent civilians, United Nations delegates today said they had no choice but to seriously consider skipping lunch one day this week to talk about it some more.

As Syrian cities continue to be bombed (top), Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov (bottom right) and colleague look over the U.N. commissary lunch menu.

After failing to pass a resolution condemning the Syrian crackdown last week, delegates said they were not willing to wait for a planned meeting next week to do something decisive.
“The deplorable actions of the Syrian government against its own people cannot be allowed to continue undiscussed,” said France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud. “If that means we need to shorten our lunch break, or even forego lunch altogether, we should be willing to make that sacrifice. Although not today as chicken tetrazzini is on the menu.”
In a chilling address to the General Assembly on Monday, Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s human-rights chief, said at least 5,400 civilians were killed last year and hundreds more have died in the past week in the government crackdown. Reports of torture and rape are widespread, fears of starvation are mounting and Pillay urged members to act immediately. In a non-binding response, the horrified Assembly voted 163-34 in favor of ordering the grilled chicken Caesar salad without the grilled chicken as a show of solidarity.
“Fellow delegates, a Caesar salad takes only a few minutes to make, while the grilled chicken adds another 20 minutes to the order,” German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig said in an impassioned speech from the chamber floor. “With so many men, women and children suffering every minute, frankly that’s time we simply don’t have.
“And I’m on a diet anyway,” he added. “Does my translator make me look fat?”
Syria’s U.N. Ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, however, voted against the non-binding lunch resolution, calling it “an intrusion on Syrian sovereignty” as he had already committed to the couscous with lamb.
The bold move to reconsider lunch is not the only action the international community has taken to stem the daily bloodshed. Next week the assembly is scheduled to discuss a non-binding resolution to organize a committee to consider sending an envoy to Syria at some point in the future. And just last week, the Security Council very nearly passed a resolution supporting an Arab League proposal calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
Russia and China vetoed the Security Council resolution and voted against any changes to lunch, arguing that both were biased against the al-Assad regime.
“The Syrian Army is shooting, yes, but we must also consider that innocent civilians are dying, so really both sides are playing a role here,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained. “We will agree to the abstention of lunch as soon as the government stops the indiscriminate killing, and the Syrian people stop the indiscriminate dying.”
China’s U.N. delegation head, Li Baodong, agreed, saying that while al-Assad refuses to talk, opposition leaders are equally difficult to communicate with. “Yesterday I had the most disagreeable conversation with a man trapped in (the besieged city of) Homs,” said Li. “The bombs going off made him impossible to hear. I told him it was much too loud where he was. ‘Just find a quieter spot,’ I said. ‘But if I go out I’ll be shot!’ he said. Honestly, some people can’t commit to anything.”

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