Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Middle east

Russia, China back UN statement on Syrian peace

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-21

China and Russia on Wednesday backed a United Nations statement that warns Bashar al-Assad’s regime with "further steps" if he fails to comply with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace proposal.

REUTERS - In a major diplomatic blow for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and China joined the Security Council on Wednesday in voicing support for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s bid to end violence that has brought Syria to the brink of civil war.

Western diplomats said the agreement on a statement voicing the “gravest concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria” should be a wake-up call for Assad, who has counted on support from Russia to fend off international criticism of his yearlong attempt to crush anti-government protests.

The statement threatens Syria with “further steps” if it fails to comply with Annan’s six-point peace proposal, which calls for a cease-fire, political dialogue between government and opposition, and full access for aid agencies.

The U.S.-European push for a council statement backing Annan’s mission came after Russia and China twice vetoed resolutions condemning Assad’s assault on demonstrators, which the United Nations says has killed well over 8,000 civilians.

Unlike resolutions, which are legally binding and need nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent council members to pass, statements are generally non-binding but require unanimous support from the council.

Although the statement does not explicitly back an Arab League plan calling for Assad to step aside, it does include Annan’s call for a political process that echoes that plan.

It voices “full support for the efforts of (Annan) to bring an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations, secure humanitarian access, and facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system.”

The statement also demands the Syrian government stop fighting first - something Annan and the West have called for.

“The Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centers, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers,” it said.

Once the government forces stop fighting, Syrian authorities “should work with (Annan) to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.”

“Pragmatic look”

Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said the former U.N. chief was “encouraged by the united support of the Security Council and urges the Syrian authorities to respond positively.”

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice echoed Fawzi, saying, “We urge the Syrian authorities to respond swiftly and positively.”

Western powers diluted the 15-nation council’s “presidential statement” on Tuesday in an effort to secure the support of Russia, which had disliked language in an earlier version that it said sounded like an ultimatum for Syria, diplomats said.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin shortly before the statement was agreed to, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear that Moscow fully supported the amended text.

“The council text reflects the reality in Syria and supports Annan’s aims,” Lavrov said after talks in Berlin with his German and Polish counterparts. “We support it fully.”

“The most important thing is that there are no ultimatums ... and no suggestions as to who carries more blame,” he said.

In New York, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the council had “finally chosen to take a pragmatic look at Syria.”

British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the statement sends a “strong and united message to the government and all other actors in Syria that they need to respond ... immediately” to Annan’s peace proposals.

The council also approved informal remarks to the press that Russia had asked the council to issue condemning bomb attacks last weekend in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

The presidential statement is separate from a U.S.-drafted resolution calling on Syria to allow access to humanitarian aid workers in the country.

The last time the council passed a presidential statement on Syria was August 2011, although council members reached a rare unanimous agreement on informal remarks to the press on March 1 to rebuke Damascus for not allowing U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos into the country.

Shortly after the council approved those remarks to the press, Amos was allowed to visit Damascus.

Date created : 2012-03-21

  • SYRIA

    Syrian rebels accused of torture and executions

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Russia joins calls for humanitarian truce in Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Annan team arrives in Syria as clashes continue

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)