News / Middle East

    Russia Plans Veto of Security Council Resolution on Syria

    FILE - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Dec. 20, 2013.
    FILE - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Dec. 20, 2013.
    VOA News
    A Russian official said a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria has been crafted as a precursor for military intervention, and that Russia will not let it pass.

    Russian media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov saying Wednesday that the resolution is "unacceptable" in its current form. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the measure a one-sided effort to blame the Syrian government.

    President Barack Obama said in a joint news conference Tuesday with French President Francois Hollande that aside from Russia, there is "great unanimity" among the council on the resolution to give greater access to aid workers.

    "Secretary Kerry and others have delivered a very direct message to the Russians that they cannot say that they are concerned about the well-being of the Syrian people when there are starving civilians, and that it is not just the Syrians that are responsible; the Russians, as well, if they are blocking this kind of resolution," said Obama.

    The draft measure threatens sanctions against those who obstruct aid deliveries.

    Obama said that at this point he does not think there is a military solution to the Syrian crisis, but that the situation continues to change and he will explore "every possible avenue."

    Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, which each hold veto power. Russia and China have vetoed three previous resolutions that would have pressure President Bashar al-Assad's government.

    Also on Tuesday, U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper described the situation in Syria as an "apocalyptic disaster," So far, the fighting has killed more than 134,000 people and created nearly 10 million refugees.

    Clapper told a U.S. Senate committee that U.S. intelligence expectations from the current Syrian peace talks in Geneva are "pretty modest."

    U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi described the talks Tuesday as laborious with little progress. He said said negotiators from the Syrian government and the opposition are doing their best to make the process "take off," but that more cooperation is needed.

    The talks continue Wednesday.

    Photo Gallery: Latest Images from Syria
    • Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai (left), who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, talks to Syrian refugee Mazoon Rakan, 16, about Mazoon's experience in the camp during her visit to the Zaatri refugee camp, in Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • A Kurdish fighter from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) carries his son as he walks along a street, Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • A man walks near a crater as smoke rises from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • Civil defense members and civilians extinguish the fire from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014.
    • A civil defense worker puts out a fire after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • Children run across a street to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria Feb. 16, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter rests with his weapon in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
    • A boy holds his baby sister, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.
    • Rescuers walk on the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.

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