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Resolution resistance: West rejects Russia's Syria draft

Published time: January 17, 2012 07:39
Edited time: January 17, 2012 21:02

UN Security Council members vote on a resolution calling for an immediate halt to the crackdown in Syria against opponents of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO / UN PHOTO / Eskinder Debebe

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Western diplomats pushing for tough action against Damascus have criticized Russia’s new draft UN resolution for being too conciliatory. But while experts argue over drafts and texts, innocent Syrians are living in constant fear for their lives.

­After weeks of criticism over the slow pace of talks, Russia has submitted a new draft UN resolution designed to bring peace to Syria, which calls on all sides to halt the violence.

However the draft has come in for harsh criticism from council members, who say it does not condemn President Assad’s crackdown on protesters strongly enough. They say it also does not make clear whether Moscow would accept tough sanctions which the West believes will solve the conflict and save innocent civilians.

The new text enlarges on an existing Russian resolution, which has been supplemented with a list of amendments proposed by the European nations and the United States.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it does not support any foreign military deployment in Syria, as this would not bring any positive results. Moscow says that the conflict should be solved by Syrians themselves without any outside force. Russia, which holds both Syrian authorities and the opposition responsible, is calling for both sides to negotiate and find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Council members are to discuss Russia’s text on Tuesday.

As the new draft resolution was being distributed, Germany again raised its voice in the 15-member Security Council over the lack of UN action on the worsening crisis.

Russia's previous draft, presented to the UN on December 23, was criticized for being “insufficient.”

Britain, France, Germany and the United States said the text was not acceptable because it put opposition violence on a par with the government assault which the UN says has left more than 5,400 dead.

­Ali Rizk, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs told RT that one cannot consider the Syrian case “regardless or separate from the whole bigger regional package.” Rizk believes that the US and its allies view Syria as a very important “card” in their confrontation with Iran.

“The chances of any fruitful resolve, any solution would be that the US finds common ground with Iran,” he said. “Once the US is able to reach its solution when it comes to Iran then I think we will see the US being more responsive to the Russian proposals to solve this Syrian issue.”

­Political science professor Eugene Dabbous believes that in order to begin real negotiations, the West should recognize the current Syrian regime as a partner that will remain in power for the foreseeable future. At the same time, Dabbous says, Assad deal with the opposition as an equal partner.

Dabbous told RT that the Syrian leadership is "very well prepared" for the uprising in the country. “Their power structures are intact. It’s crumbling on the edges slightly, but from a pure power perspective Syria’s regime is not threatened.”


RT’s Sara Firth, who has been following the situation in Syria closely, is in the conflict-torn city of Homs, where the situation has become even more dangerous.   

The tragic death of French journalist Gille Jaquier in Homs served as yet another reminder of the harrowingly precarious situation facing the residents of this city.

The armed conflict in Syria is now looking increasingly like a civil war. Towns and cities like Homs, whose populations have resisted the government crackdown, resemble a war zone. Thousands of people have fled the city. This is the devastating reality of Syria’s uprising, with neither the government nor the opposition seemingly willing to lay down their arms and pursue dialogue.

Watch RT's Sara Firth report from Homs


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