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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs