Guardian.co.uk: UN fails to agree on condemning Syria

The deeply divided UN Security Council failed to agree on a European and US-backed statement condemning Syrian violence against peaceful protesters on Wednesday, with Russia saying security forces were also killed and the actions don’t threaten international peace.

“A real threat could arise from outside interference or taking of sides,” Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Alexander Pankin warned the UN’s most powerful body during a public session that followed, saying this could lead to civil war.

China and India called for political dialogue and peaceful resolution of the crisis, with no mention of condemnation. And Lebanon’s UN Ambasador Nawaf Salam stressed the country’s special relationship with Syria, saying “the hearts and minds” of the Lebanese people are with the Syrian people and are suppporting President Bashar Assad’s lifting of the state of emergency and reforms.

France, Britain, Germany and Portugal circulated a draft media statement on Monday calling for the 15-member council to condemn the violence. But during consultations Wednesday afternoon, several members were opposed so at the request of the Europeans and the UN the Security Council then moved into open session to hear a briefing from the UN political chief and statements from council members.

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari welcomed the council’s inaction and questioned the “unprecedented enthusiasm” by some members for the statement and a “lack of such enthusiasm” for attempting to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Syrian ambassador blamed the violence on “extremist groups whose fundamental objective is clearly the fall of the Syrian government” and said law enforcement had acted with the “utmost restraint” to prevent the killing of civilians. He waved a list of 51 members of the armed forces he said were killed “by armed gangs.”….Read More

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