News / Middle East

Russia Clashes with Europeans, Arabs Over Syria UN Resolution

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council Meeting (file)
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council Meeting (file)
Margaret Besheer

European and Arab nations are calling on the U.N. Security Council to back a resolution supporting the Arab League’s plan to end the 10-month-old political crisis in Syria. But, Russia has expressed concerns about the new text.

Following a lengthy closed-door discussion Friday afternoon on a draft resolution proposed by council members Morocco, Britain and France, Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the new text ignores what he called Moscow’s “red lines” where they could not go.

“The red lines included any indications of sanctions, the red lines included any sort of imposition of arms embargo - because we know how in real life arms embargo means you supply arms to illegal groups but you cannot supply weapons to the government - we cannot accept that," he said. "Unfortunately, the draft we saw today did not only ignore our red lines but also added some new elements which we find unacceptable as a matter of principle.”

The Russian envoy said the Arab League plan, which includes the transfer of power from President Bashar al-Assad to a deputy in preparation for multi-party elections, imposes a certain outcome of political dialogue before that dialogue even starts.

“We need to concentrate on establishing political dialogue," he said. "The Arab League may have its ideas about where that political dialogue should go, they are free to express those ideas, but certainly the Security Council cannot be a tool to impose specific solutions on countries, including in this particular situation, Syria.”

He said Moscow does not see the new draft text as one on which they could agree, but said they would be willing to engage in negotiations.        

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant rejected his colleague's objections, saying the proposed text does not include an arms embargo or sanctions, nor does it call for regime change. He noted that it also includes some language from an earlier Russian proposed draft resolution on the subject. Essentially, Lyall Grant said, the new resolution simply supports the Arab League’s efforts to end the crisis.

“Frankly, the time has come where we should be supporting the Arab League’s efforts," he said. "They took a very strong, binding decision on the Arab League members at the weekend. They have come with a credible plan that involves dialogue, a political transition, and we believe that we should support it.”

Lyall Grant said negotiations on the text would begin Monday and he hoped to have a vote on the measure next week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon the Arab League Secretary-General Nabil ElAraby and the Prime Minister of Qatar will brief the 15-member Security Council on the League’s month-long monitoring mission in Syria, which was plagued by difficulties.

Read the Arab League report in English

Syria has rejected the Arab League’s plan of January 22nd, but has said the League’s observer mission may remain in the country for another month.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed during the 10-month-long crackdown on anti-government dissenters. On Friday, the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, said nearly 400 children have been killed during the crisis.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs