French Ambassador to the UN: “Russia and China Vetoed Arab Spring”
The new resolution draft on Syria was vetoed on Tuesday prompting some of the most provocative remarks in the recent history of the United Nations Security Council and the British and the American delegations to walk out in protest.
Diplomatic etiquette was set aside after the Syrian diplomats made the case for their country and explained what was actually going on in their restive country.
The resolution was drafted by European countries and was meant to condemn the violation of human rights in Syria, threatening punitive measures against the Arab state.
Russia and China vetoed the resolution, South Africa, India, Lebanon and Brazil abstained, while UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Bosnia, Colombia, Gabon, Nigeria and the United States were in favor of the draft.
Chinese ambassador Li Baodong expressed hope that Syrian government would implement the reforms it had promised, and that the political forces in that country would start negotiations in order to ease the situation.
The ambassador also said that his country was very much concerned about what was going on in Syria. He added that while the international community should provide constructive assistance to Syria, the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country should be carefully preserved.
China, he argued, like other countries does not believe that sanctions or threats with sanctions could help the country in its current situation.
Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that the vote on Tuesday was not a matter of semantics but one of political approaches, explaining that the draft that was refused was based on a logic of confrontation.
Therefore, Churkin said, Russia could not accept that such an accusatory resolution, that went against the principle of peacefully settling the Syrian conflict on the basis of national dialogue, be passed.
He was careful to make clear that his country was not advocating Assad’s regime, and that it was concerned with the escalation of violence. Russia had an alternative resolution, which was not brought to vote.
US ambassador Susan Rice expressed outrage that the security council systematically fails to address this matter that is an urgent moral challenge and a provocation to the peace in the region.
Susan Rice accused Moscow and Beijing of siding with a “regime of thugs” in stead of supporting the people in the streets of Syria, which were being killed by a “desperate, cruel dictator.”
The Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari was the last to speak, and in his address he accused the countries that threw their support behind the resolution draft of supporting the terrorists that act on Syrian territory against the government.
At that time the US and UK ambassadors walked out of the room in protest, missing the hardest accusations against their countries the ambassador made when saying that these countries lost prestige and resorted now to violence in order to impose their will.
This double veto is the first in three years and is, according to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, a bitter blow to all Syrians who have implored the international community to take a stand.
The last veto was expressed by Russia and China in 2008, when they opposed sanctions against Zimbabwe president Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
French ambassador to UN Gerard Araud went as far as to say that China and Russia “have vetoed Arab Spring.”
The vote in the UN Security Council proves that the international community is resilient to the idea of allowing an intervention similar to the one in Libya, which many consider was exacerbated by NATO countries in order to get rid of Muammar al-Qaddafi.
The resolution was not voted even though Western diplomats watered down its measures in the sense that they explicitly affirmed that any intervention against Syrian regime would be “non-military in nature.”
On Wednesday, the Australian foreign secretary Kevin Rudd said that Australia deeply regretted the veto of the draft resolution, and added that now Russia and China bore a particular responsibility in making sure that Syrian regime put and end to violence and returned to the negotiation table with the people in its country.
While the countries in the UN Security Council were voting the draft resolution, Turkey, a key player in the region, was preparing for a weeklong military drill near the border with Syria. Turkey said, even before the vote was cast, it supported completely the new resolution.
Sources in Ankara say that the government is considering a “series of steps” against Syria, including creating buffer zones along the common border, assets freeze and other economic sanctions.11