Churkin: vote on Syrian issue contrary to UN Charter
Laaska News August 4, 2012
The initiators of the vote on the Syrian issue at the UN General Assembly blatantly disregarded the UN Charter, said Russia’s permanent UN representative Vitaly Churkin, speaking to reporters Friday.
“At a time when the Security Council is still dealing with this issue, it is inappropriate and contrary to the UN Charter to put to the vote draft resolutions on this issue,” – said the diplomat.
Vitaly Churkin declared the resolution “extremely one-sided, and written as though there was no armed opposition in general”.
The resolution on Syria, adopted by the UN General Assembly on Friday, is not conducive to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, believes Russia’s permanent representative at the world body, Vitaly Churkin.
“The Russian delegation deplores the adoption of this resolution, which only exacerbates the confrontational approaches to dealing with the Syrian crisis, failing to lead the sides involved onto a platform of dialogue”, – said Churkin.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a draft resolution calling on Syrian authorities to stop using heavy weaponry and withdraw troops from the country’s cities. Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, India, China, Cuba, South Africa and a number of other countries voted against the resolution.
Vitaly Churkin said that by passing the document the General Assembly violated UN procedural norms. “The resolution infringes on the competence of the Security Council, which continues to be actively engaged in dealing with the Syrian issue”, – said Churkin.
Aug 4, 2012 00:21
Moscow deplores supplies of “serious types of armaments” for Syria opposition
Moscow has expressed concern over alleged foreign supplies of Syrian armed opposition with “serious types of armaments such as portable surface-to-air missile systems, which can be used against civilian targets.”
“In whose ends such weapons end up is clear from footage posted on the Internet that shows a group execution by militants of unarmed supporters of President Bashar al-Assad whom they had taken prisoner, and their vandalizing of the bodies of police officers killed in Aleppo. It is unlikely that anyone would doubt that executors of such atrocities are outside law and human morality,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Friday.
“We are forced to reiterate that the assistance and support that are being given to the armed opposition run against consensus-based UN Security Council resolutions on Syria and the plan of Kofi Annan, the core of which is a peaceful solution through negotiations and dialogue and by no means encouragement of bloody activity on the part of the Syrian illegal armed units,” Zakharova said.
Aug 3, 2012 22:36 Moscow Time
Russia votes against UN Syria resolution
The United Nations General Assembly has passed a Saudi resolution on Syria.
The vote went 133 against 12, with 31 abstentions.
Russia voted against the resolution, after criticizing it as ‘poorly balanced’. The resolution does not include calls, advocated by the Arab League, for world powers to impose new sanctions on Syria or for President Bashar Assad to step down. At the same time, it unfairly lays most of the blame for the Syrian conflict on the doorstep of the Syrian government.
Unlike resolutions of the UN Security Council, resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly are not binding.
Aug 3, 2012 22:00 Moscow Time
Russia concerned with unrest in Aleppo
Russia is concerned over the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova said.
According to her, the situation with civilians has worsened and the city is partially paralyzed.
Russia is forced to state once again that aid and support rendering to the armed opposition contradict the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria and Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
“The stem of the plan is the resolution of the conflict through a dialogue rather than the encouragement of blood thirsty Syrian illegal armed groups,” Maria Zakharova said.
Aug 3, 2012 21:58 Moscow Time
Syrian rebels to get stronger UK support – Hague
Great Britain is to step up its diplomatic and other non-military support of the Syrian opposition.
Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke about this to the BBC on Friday a day after international envoy Kofi Annan announced his decision to resign from the post of the United Nations and the Arab League mediator for Syria.
Russia says it fears his resignation may encourage attempts to resolve the Syrian crisis by force.
Aug 3, 2012 15:52 Moscow Time
Regrets and fingerpointing as world powers swallow Annan’s resignation
Kofi Annan’s resignation from his post as the UN-Arab League joint envoy to Syria has prompted an ample international reaction. While most countries regretted the decision, some used the opportunity to take new jabs at the Syrian leadership.
Washington said Annan’s resignation highlighted Russia’s and China’s failure to support action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added that Assad continued to “brutally murder” his own people, in spite of promises to follow Annan’s six-point plan.
The reaction out of London largely echoed what the world had already heard from America.
“We understand Annan’s frustration that, due to vetoes in the Security Council, the international community was unable to give him the support that he needed and requested,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
Hague also noted that the Syrian government was failing to meet its obligations according to the Annan plan, instead continuing to repress its people. Nevertheless, Hague commended Annan’s efforts and stressed that the best chance of bringing about a peaceful solution to the crisis would be to stick to outgoing the envoy’s plan, as well as the Geneva communiqué adopted in June.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron signaled what could be a new, harsher period in the West’s treatment of the Assad regime.
The Annan plan “hasn’t worked because we have got this appalling bloodshed. I think what we need to do is actually ramp things up,” he told Sky News.
Annan’s resignation “illustrates the dramatic stalemate of the Syrian conflict,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. France’s UN envoy also voiced concerns that the observer mission could be wrapped up following the envoy’s departure. The UN Security Council will decide on the observers’ next move on August 16.
A wide spectrum of international leaders and diplomats expressed disappointment over Annan’s stepping down, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Kofi Annan is an honorable man and a brilliant diplomat, so I regret this very much,” Putin said. “But I hope that the international community will continue the efforts to end violence.”
Moscow was happy to learn, though, that the UN and Arab League are looking for a successor to continue the peace mission, remarked Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin.
“We understand that it’s his decision,” Churkin told reporters. “We have very strongly supported Kofi Annan’s efforts. He has another month to go, and I hope this month will be used as effectively as possible under these very difficult circumstances.”
Syria voiced regret over Annan’s resignation, reaffirming its support of the principles he laid out.
“Syria still believes the only way out of the crisis is a national dialogue and a peace resolution, not a foreign intervention,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Damascus would continue its pursuit of terrorism and its bid to ensure security in the country.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended Annan’s efforts to put an end to the Syrian conflict.
“Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments,” Ban noted in a statement. “I will continue to draw on his wisdom and counsel, and on the work of the Office of the Joint Special Envoy.”
Ban also blamed both the Syrian government and opposition for continuing to rely on “ever-increasing” violence to further their cause. The Secretary General also took note of other hurdles in the way of a peaceful solution to the crisis.
“The persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult,” he said.
Annan’s resignation came as the UN General Assembly continued to discuss a draft resolution on Syria. The original draft, written by Saudi Arabia, called for new sanctions against the country and insisted on Assad’s resignation. Both clauses were removed as the draft risked failure to reach 100 votes in a vote scheduled for Friday. The original was panned by key international players such as Russia, China, Brazil and India.
Churkin noted that the draft was an “extremely unbalanced and one-sided resolution.” He also said the countries pushing most actively for its adoption were the ones providing weapons to the Syrian opposition.
“This is, unfortunately, the tragedy of the matter, something which made Kofi Annan’s efforts so difficult,” he said.
The amended draft still calls on the Syrian government to stop shelling and conducting helicopter attacks, and to withdraw its troops to the barracks. It also calls on the Syrian government to “refrain from using, or transferring to non-state actors, any chemical and biological weapons, or any related material.”
3 August, 2012, 07:21
Japan regrets Annan’s resignation
Japan’s top government spokesman has expressed regret over the resignation of the UN special envoy on Syria.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters on Friday that Kofi Annan’s departure is extremely disappointing.
Fujimura said Annan’s plan should be implemented immediately to stop the violence in Syria. He said the international community needs to work in unison to carry out the plan by putting pressure on the Syrian government.
Fujimura pledged Japan’s continued support and said Annan’s successor should be selected as soon as possible.
Aug. 3, 2012 – Updated 02:48 UTC (11:48 JST)
Reactions to Annan’s resignation
World governments are reacting to the resignation of UN special envoy on Syria Kofi Annan. Russia has expressed regret, while the United States and Syria’s opposition forces say his departure highlights a failure at the top level of the United Nations.
The United States reiterated its call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Assad continues to brutally murder his own people despite his promise to abide by Annan’s plan. Carney said Annan’s resignation underscores the failure at the UN Security Council of Russia and China to support resolutions against Assad.
US officials say they will not provide weapons to Syria’s opposition, limiting assistance to non-lethal tools such as communication equipment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed regret over Annan’s resignation, calling him a brilliant diplomat.
Putin did not refer directly to Annan’s criticism of the split at the UN Security Council, pitting Western countries against Russia and China. Putin said only that he hoped the international community would continue efforts to end the violence.
A member of Syria’s anti-government forces in Damascus told NHK that Annan had no choice but to resign because of his failure to stop government attacks on Syrian people. He said the opposition no longer expects anything from Annan or the United Nations.
A senior official of the opposition Free Syrian Army said Annan’s resignation proves that his mediation efforts failed.
The official said President Assad is not seeking political solutions and the opposition has no choice but to continue to its battles.
Aug. 3, 2012 – Updated 01:03 UTC (10:03 JST)
Syrian rebels now have heavy weapons
In Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, rebel forces have been using a tank against government troops in a further escalation of fighting.
A UK-based human rights group says the anti-government Free Syrian Army attacked a military airbase near Aleppo on Thursday with a tank believed to have been taken from government forces.
The rebels had been lacking in firepower to counter the tanks and helicopters of government troops.
But recently they are reinforcing their weaponry with help from neighboring Gulf states.
UN ceasefire observers expressed concern on Wednesday, confirming the rebels have heavy weapons.
The government army launched a fierce offensive across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.
In the suburbs of the capital Damascus, government troops and pro-regime militiamen known as Shabbiha reportedly assaulted a village, killing more than 40 people.
Concern is growing that the fighting in Syria will continue to escalate as the rebels seek more help from outside the country.
Aug. 3, 2012 – Updated 01:03 UTC (10:03 JST)