UN Security Council_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The UN Security Council on Monday remained deeply divided over how to react to
news of growing violence in Syria, where the government recently launched a
military campaign that left at least 122 protesters dead.
In an urgent
meeting held at the UN headquarters in New York, Western countries used
diplomatic pressure in an attempt to condemn Damascus.
failed to convince permanent council members China and Russia to refrain from
vetoing the resolution. Those countries believe a resolution could lead to
military intervention, as did a similar motion passed on Libya.
very strongly against, and have taken a very strong and clear position –
thankfully supported by a number of members of the Security Council – that to go
down the Libyan road would have dramatic and catastrophic consequences for Syria
and for the region,” said Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly
Churkin’s argument was rebuffed by US Ambassador Susan Rice, who
claimed Libya was being used as an excuse to justify inaction.
“That is a
canard,” she said. “Frankly, in my opinion it has been an excuse by those
that don’t want to confront what is happening in Syria. There has never been in
any of the drafts that the Europeans have circulated anything that should remind
anybody of Libya for good or ill.”
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal
put forward a resolution on Syria in April, but it never reached a vote due to
opposition by Russia, China, India, South Africa and Lebanon.
mission to the UN had no comment on Monday’s debate, but Jewish groups such as
the American Jewish Committee called on the Security Council to “face off mass
murder and repression by the Syrian government against protesters.”
executive director David Harris said the Security Council has so far remained
“deafeningly silent” about the violence in Syria.
“The stumbling block
has been the opposition of several key members unwilling to adopt a resolution
critical of the Assad regime,” Harris said. “This is beyond shameful. People are
being killed in ever larger numbers, and many more have been arrested and not
heard from since.”