US officials to 'Post': UN path 'dead on arrival' as Russia convenes Security Council on Syria

White House expresses frustration with Russian intransigence.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
August 29, 2013 20:46
2 minute read.
United Nations Security Council

United Nations Security Council 311 (R). (photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)

 
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WASHINGTON -  Russia has called for an immediate conference of the United Nations Security Council on the crisis unfolding in Syria for Thursday afternoon, following yesterday's inconclusive meeting on the matter.

The meeting comes as multiple US government officials tell The Jerusalem Post that the United States believes any language put forth to the Security Council for a resolution on Syria is "dead on arrival."

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"We've seen two years of Russian intransigence" on Syria, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Thursday. "I don't know why we would expect a shift today."

Harf said, however, that she expects US ambassador Susan Power to participate in the emergency Security Council meeting.

The White House underlined its frustration with Russia on Thursday, making the case for circumventing the UN Security Council.

"Unfortunately, what we're seeing right now is Russia repeatedly blocking efforts at the UN to hold Assad accountable," White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday.

Yesterday, Harf said the US now "does not see an avenue forward" through the Security Council.



"We are not proceeding with a vote on this draft resolution," she said, after the United Kingdom submitted a first draft of a resolution that would empower the international community to use "all necessary measures" to hold Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for the mass use of chemical weapons last week, August 21, in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

"We are making our own decisions on our own timeline," Harf added. "The Russians have been clear that they have no interest in holding the Syrian regime accountable."

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron made his case to members of Parliament on Thursday that Syria's president, Bashar Assad, must be held accountable for using chemical weapons against his own people.

But Cameron rolled back threats that British military action was imminent. He said that the UK would not take action until the United Nations chemical weapons team had presented its findings from an investigation on the ground to the UN Security Council, and until a second vote in Parliament-- following one to be held later this evening-- authorized the use of force against the Assad regime.

Cameron now says he will first wait for the UN team to submit its findings, make a "genuine attempt" at rounding up unanimous Security Council support for a forceful response, and will then hold a second vote, likely around Tuesday of next week.

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