United Nations Security Council 311 (R).
(photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)
UNITED NATIONS - Russia's UN delegation on Friday submitted a revised draft resolution on Syria
to the UN Security Council, but Germany said it did not go far enough
in addressing Western concerns about the escalating violence there.
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UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow had limits on how much it
would accommodate the demands of the European and US delegations, which
would like the 15-nation council to threaten sanctions on Damascus over
its nine-month-old crackdown on protesters.
the requirement is that we drop all reference to violence coming from
extreme opposition, that's not going to happen," Churkin told reporters.
they expect us to have arms embargo, that's not going to happen," he
said. "We know what arms embargo means these days. It means that - we
saw it in Libya - that you cannot supply weapons to the government but
everybody else can supply weapons to various opposition groups."
envoys have said they would like to see a UN arms embargo imposed on
Syria. They also reject the idea of equating Syria's opposition with the
government security forces, who they say have been responsible for most
of the violence.
German Ambassador Peter Wittig said the latest
Russian draft did not go far enough in satisfying the demands of the
Western powers, which had also criticized an earlier Russian draft
submitted to council members as too weak.
"So far the Russian draft, the Russian suggestions, are insufficient,"
he told reporters. "We need to put the weight of the council behind the
Arab League, behind all the decisions of the Arab League in (their)
"We should not pick and choose," Wittig said. "That includes the demands
to release political prisoners, that includes a clear signal for
accountability for those who have perpetrated human rights violations."Russian envoy criticizes Syria
Some UN diplomats say that "accountability" is becoming synonymous with
referral to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for possible
war crimes charges.
Wittig said his requests for amendments to be included in the Russian
draft were not reflected in the text, which council diplomats said was
being discussed at a closed-door meeting of envoys from council member
Russia's latest draft, Western diplomats said, would have the council
welcome Syria's decision to sign an Arab League deal allowing monitors
into the country.
But it does not endorse the Arab League's threat of possible sanctions
against Damascus if it continues with a crackdown that the United
Nations says has killed more than 5,000 civilians.
Churkin said he was willing to amend the draft further, though Western
diplomats said they suspected the Russians might not be serious about
wanting a Security Council resolution on Syria and might instead be
trying to help Syria play for time.
In a sign that the violence is escalating, suicide car bombers struck
Damascus on Friday, officials said, gutting buildings and sending human
limbs flying in the bloodiest violence in Syria's capital since the
revolt began in March.
Wittig said he "deplored" the suicide attacks, adding that they highlighted the need for Security Council action.
"It's a sign of escalation, that the situation is rapidly deteriorating
and underlines the need ... for the council to act," he said.
Churkin said the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had
become the target of "regime change," similar to the former Libyan
leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and killed by rebels. The
anti-Gaddafi uprising was aided by a UN-backed NATO military operation
to protect Libyan civilians.
But Churkin said Damascus shared some of the blame for winding up in that position.
"Of course, it was the fault of Damascus that they created a situation
through violence, excessive violence, that they became this target of
opportunity for regime change," Churkin said.