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27 Aug, 2011 01:46

Russia introduces counter-resolution on Syria

Russia has submitted its own draft resolution on Syria to the UN. The draft is sanction-free and does not condemn Damascus for its actions against protesters, but urges President Assad to implement the promised reforms.

"Russia is looking for ways of leading Syria out of the crisis," said Russia's permanent representative at the UN, Vitaly Churkin.Churkin believes that the approach of Russia’s Western partners on the Security Council to the solution of the Syrian crisis is “completely biased and is leaning exclusively on the Syrian government.”“It does not have anything about the need for dialogue, does not encourage a position for dialogue,” he said. “In fact, our concern is that it is going to push the more extreme, more destructive elements of the Syrian opposition towards stronger efforts in order to topple the Syrian government. So that is why we don’t at all like what our Western colleagues are trying to achieve by that resolution and we are proposing an alternative to that – to keep the Security Council involved but in a positive way.”Russia’s diplomatic initiative calls for "the immediate cessation of all acts of violence,” and according to Churkin already has the support of some nations on the 15-member Security Council.Vitaly Churkin told the media that "a very important emissary from Moscow" will visit Damascus on August 29.Itar-Tass speculated that this emissary might be the deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, who on Thursday discussed the situation with Riad Haddad, the new Syrian ambassador to Moscow.At the same time Britain, France, Germany, Portugal and the United States formally presented their draft resolution, which was discussed earlier this week, to the Security Council. Their resolution calls for sanctions against Assad and some other senior officials who are believed to be personally responsible for civilian casualties.Russia and China refused to attend these informal talks, giving the understanding that they are working on other solutions for the Syrian crisis. As veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China have the power to block any decision.