Sunday, 9 October 2016

Conflict at the UN ecurity Council

Russia Blocks French UN Security Council Ceasefire Resolution on Syria's Aleppo

On Saturday, Russia blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution on the cessation of hostilities in Syria's Aleppo favoring a proposal by the UN Envoy to Syria that focuses on evicting al-Nusra terrorists (al-Qaeda) from Eastern Aleppo.

8 October, 2016

Russia vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council Resolution on Saturday that called for the immediate end to airstrikes over Syria's Aleppo city receiving condemnation from the West which argues that Moscow is facilitating more war and fighting in the country.

Moscow opposed the draft because it did not adequately deal with the problem of the rebels being interwoven with al-Nusra Front, formerly Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, under the umbrella group the Army of Conquest. The UN Envoy to Syria proposed a separate plan that would allow al-Nusra Front fighters to evacuate the area armed to make for a more tenable situation inside of the besieged eastern side of Aleppo. 

This is the fifth time that Russia has vetoed a UN resolution on Syria during the five-year conflict with China joining Moscow in the previous four vetoes, but abstaining from voting on Saturday. 

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented that the text of the French resolution distorted the complexity of the situation on the ground leaving the false impression that Russia and Syria were aggressors when in reality the conflict in East Aleppo is mixed between moderate anti-Assad forces that have branched together with more radical al-Nusra terrorists. 

The Ministry further noted that the draft resolution ignored the urgent challenge of beginning and resolving an intra-Syrian political process that could place the country on a path towards stability and peace. 

Russian representatives further expressed their "commitment to finding a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict" notwithstanding the move to veto the French draft United Nations Security Council resolution. 

Prior to the vote, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin expressed his dismay with the French draft that he believed was poorly postulated and designed to be vetoed by Russia for the sake of scoring public relations points and instead expressed his desire that the United Nations pursue the route of supporting the UN Envoy to Syria's plan. 

Reiterating this point, Russia said that the authors of the French United Nations Security Council resolution draft on Syria failed to show political wisdom by intentionally ignoring Moscow's proposed amendments to it. 

Vitaly Churkin went on to say before the vote that all of those attending the Security Council meeting knew that neither the French nor the Russian resolution on the Syrian crisis would be adopted. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry closed by appealing to the members of the United Nations Security Council that the world must not allow Syria to go the way of Iraq or Libya reminding that US-led regime change in those countries led to further instability making those nations hotbeds for terrorism and in large part contributing to the crisis in Syria. 

If you can make out the soundtrack


The UN Security Council (UNSC) has vetoed two rival resolutions proposed by Russia and France on the escalating situation in Syria and the war-torn city of Aleppo in particular.

In his statement, the Russian envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said that all of the members of the UNSC understood from the beginning that both draft resolutions would not go through.

A boy walks behind a woman carrying a child along a street in the northern Syrian town of al-Rai, in Aleppo © Khalil Ashawi

"Today we are participating in one of the most bizarre scenes in the history of the UN Security Council. We will vote on the two draft Council resolutions, and we are all well aware that neither of them will be accepted," Churkin said.

The official urged all sides to restart the Syria peace process, which he said had been “jeopardized” by the radical groups.

The French proposal implied “upgraded” coordination of monitoring of the situation in Syria and reactivating the cessation of hostilities in Aleppo. One of the key points of the proposal was a halt to Syrian and Russian bombardment of East Aleppo.

However, Moscow and Damascus repeatedly stressed they are targeting terrorist hideouts there, which have been jeopardizing the cessation of hostilities.
The French proposal also included a call for all sides to prevent any material and financial resources reaching individuals or groups “associated with al-Qaeda and IS [Islamic State].” In addition, the French urged greater access for humanitarian aid deliveries across Syria.

Moscow: Halt to strikes gives terrorists ‘cover’

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the French-sponsored resolution “distorted” the real situation in Syria after the US refused to stick to the agreement on settling the crisis. The prohibition of flights over Aleppo “provides cover to terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra” and those militants who allied with them, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.

Moscow is nevertheless ready to work together on fulfilling the agreements reached earlier on resolving the deadlock in Syria, the Foreign Ministry added.
Russia for its part submitted to the UNSC a counter-resolution on Syria. 

According to the document, Moscow called for an immediate halt to the violence in war-ravaged Aleppo, but not for a halt to anti-terrorist strikes in the city. Monitoring should be then evaluated by the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG), the document said.

One of the key elements of the proposal was an urgent need for a separation of moderate rebels from terrorist groups like Al-Nusra in Aleppo, as agreed between Moscow and Washington in Geneva on September 9.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad © SANA

Commenting on the Russian resolution at the UNSC, the US representative stated that Moscow can’t justify its strikes in Aleppo with “a few hundred” al-Nusra terrorists there.

Howver according to the latest estimations by the UN between six and eight thousand militants are currently holding the eastern part of Aleppo, with nearly a half estimated to belong or act together with the al-Nusra terrorists.

Russian draft also strongly backed calls by the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura to allow safe exit for Nusra terrorists in order to bring relief to Aleppo. On Thursday de Mistura said he is willing to personally escort them out.

If you [Al-Nusra] did decide to leave, in dignity with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready, physically ready, to accompany you,” he said.

De Mistura, warned that East Aleppo might be destroyed within two months if the military action in the city continues.

Russia and the Syrian government have come under intense criticism from the US in recent days over the strikes in Aleppo. On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Russian and Syrian governments' actions in Syria "beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes." He alleged that Moscow and Damascus have been “hitting hospitals, medical facilities,” in the war-ravaged country.

Russia and Syria have denied any wrongdoing, with Moscow insisting that any peace plan for Syria and Aleppo in particular will not bear fruit until the US-backed rebels clearly distance themselves from Al-Nusra. On Friday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that the US had consistently failed to deliver on its promises to do so. "It has led to problems in identifying specific violators of the ceasefire,” Antonov said.

During the UNSC session, Churkin “regretted” that New Zealand’s push for a document combining Russian and French proposals has not been given any consideration in the Council.

"We know that New Zealand tried to work out a draft resolution that would [be] in the middle of the two approaches presented today. We regret that some influential members of the Council did not allow to set your project going,” he said.

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