Western-backed resolution on Syria doomed?

Syrian anti-regime demonstrators holding slogans against Russia's policy at UN Security Council that blocked a resolution calling for an immediate halt to the crackdown in Syria during a rally in the northeastern city of Kafr Nabl on January 20, 2012. (AFP Photo/LCC SYRIA)
The UN Security Council is due to consider a new resolution on Syria, which demands that the country’s authorities step down. Russia however has stated that the draft offered by the West and the Arab League has no chance of being passed as it is.

­"The UN Security Council will meet in closed consultations this Friday 3:00 pm in New York to discuss steps to take on the situation in Syria," France's UN mission Twitter page informed.

The draft resolution was reportedly proposed by France and supported by the United States, the UK, Portugal, Germany and the Arab countries. It comes as an alternative to the draft earlier proposed by Russia, which pushes for peaceful resolution of the conflict.

According to the Itar-Tass news agency, the new draft will demand that the Syrian regime stop all violence in Syria, withdraw armed forces from inhabited areas and allow peaceful rallies.

The document also supports the Arab League’s ideology towards Syria, calling for the formation of a national unity government, and free elections monitored by Arab and international observers.

The draft does not stipulate any sanctions on Syria, the agency reports, but does urge all member states to take measures against the country, similar to those adopted by the Arab States in November 2011.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Wednesday that Russia is ready to discuss constructive ideas concerning the prospective resolution, but will not support unilateral sanctions by western states or military intervention against the country.

­‘Fresh draft resolution unacceptable for Russia’ – top official  

­Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov announced on Friday the fresh draft resolution ignores the Russian position on Syria and therefore, in its current form has no chance of being accepted by the Russian side.

“Key points which are important for us, are missing,” Gatilov said, explaining that the new draft does not contain a number of important provisions, including a guarantee against military intervention in the country.

“There are not even such elementary things as a reference to adherence to the UN Charter,” he said. 

Gennady Gatilov added that in the new document there are vague provisions stipulating uncertain “additional measures” in case the resolution is not fulfilled within 15 days of its official implementation.  

“The project, as is, is not acceptable to us,” the official stressed. “It was announced that the document will be put forward for UNSC consultations, and we insist that our draft resolution, as well, should continue to be on the table.”

The deputy minister stressed that the Russian draft calls for political dialogue with the conflicting sides in Syria. Gatilov added that Moscow is ready to continue discussing its draft and to amend it according to suggestions from other sides, aimed at launching a political process in the country.

Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele, when asked by RT about the draft resolution, said that the Western powers were oversimplifying the issue by asking for Assad’s removal.

“It’s much more complicated than just saying one man must go. There has to be a massive political reform.”

He also highlighted the need for an active dialogue between the opposition and the government, which he doubted the West would work toward.

“I do think that there will be a stand-off at the UN and the military situation will continue to deteriorate,” Jonathan Steele said.


­Jason Ditz from antiwar.com told RT that it is very unlikely there will be any agreement reached on this issue, mostly because the draft resolution seems to have a lot of “vague wording.”

He warns that some Western forces are envisioning this draft resolution as an excuse for war – as they did in Libya. “That’s precisely why I don’t think this agreement will get anywhere because I don’t think either Russia or China is going to allow that.

For it to stand any chance of being passed, the draft has to exclude any threat of harsh action against Assad, Ditz adds.