Russia Proposes UN Resolution on Syria

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 8:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia has proposed a new United Nations resolution calling for an end to violence and loss of life in Syria, but refraining from a call for sanctions.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, announced a draft resolution Thursday to the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

“With regard to the need to stop violence, with regard to the need to uphold human rights, with regard to expediting reforms and especially we believe it is important to give a strong message to the Arab League that we encourage them to continue their efforts and of working together with the government of Syria and to carry out its plans to deploy the monitoring mission in Syria.”

He said the text also urges the Syrian government to put an end to suppression of those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

Russia and China have blocked earlier resolution efforts.

Western members of the council, who have been pressing for tough measures against President Bashar al-Assad's government, welcomed the move, but they said it is not sufficient because it does not ask for any sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Russian proposal is not acceptable, but that it can be the basis for negotiation.

“But we're going to study the draft carefully. It will have to be shared with the Arab League, which has taken the lead on the response to what's going on in Syria. And hopefully we can work with the Russians, who for the first time at least, are recognizing that this is a matter that needs to go to the Security Council.”

French Ambassador Gerard Araud noted that Russia's surprise circulation of the new draft comes after last week's shocking briefing about the situation in Syria by U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay.

The U.N. estimates that some 5,000 people have been killed in the past nine months there. The Russian proposal also stresses that nothing in the resolution shall be interpreted as an authorization of any sort of military interference in Syria by anyone.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday urged that “in the name of humanity” it is time for the international community to act and that the “status quo in Syria cannot go on.”