Russia, China defeat EU’s UNSC move against Syria

April 30, 2011 - 0:0

UNITED NATIONS - A European push for the UN Security Council to condemn Syrian government was defeated on Wednesday by strong resistance from Russia, China and Lebanon, envoys said.

According to Reuters, the meeting highlighted differences in the 15-nation council, with Russia charging that it was outside interference in Arab countries that could be a threat to peace.
Earlier this week Britain, France, Germany and Portugal circulated to the other 11 council members a draft statement urging restraint by the Damascus government. They were supported by the United States.
Permanent veto-wielding council members Russia and China have become increasingly critical of the UN-backed intervention to protect civilians in Libya, which they believe aims to oust leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Diplomats said the Lebanese delegation also opposed the idea of condemning Syria.
At Wednesday's debate on Syria, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and other Western delegates denounced what they called repression of peaceful demonstrators.
But most other speakers took a cautious line, urging restraint and a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis.
Russian envoy Alexander Pankin said the Syrian situation “does not present a threat to international peace and security” -- a condition for Security Council involvement -- and that the demonstrators had also been violent.
“A real threat to regional security, in our view, could arise from outside interference in Syria's domestic situation, including attempts to push ready-made solutions or taking of sides,” he said in a clear hit at the West.
Some demonstrators in Arab countries wanted the outside world to take their side, he said. “Such approaches lead to a never-ending cycle of violence. This is a type of invitation to civil war,” Pankin said.
In a speech, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari blamed the violence on “extremist groups whose fundamental objective is clearly the fall of the Syrian government.” The authorities had shown the “utmost restraint,” he said.
“Some of the statements we heard today can only be considered an encouragement to extremism and terrorism,” Ja'afari said, repeating allegations from Damascus that foreign forces were inciting the unrest