Russia Blocks U.N. Condemnation of Syria Government

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Russia on Friday blocked a U.S.-drafted U.N. Security Council statement condemning the Syrian government's increasing military offensive on Aleppo, diplomats said.

The move heightened diplomatic tensions ahead of a key Russia-U.S.-U.N. meeting in Geneva on Friday on organizing an international Syria peace conference.

Russian diplomats refused to allow any mention in the statement of President Bashar Assad's tactics, diplomats said.

In the face of the obstacles, the United States decided to withdraw the draft which needs the approval of all 15 Security Council members to be released. A spokesman said the U.S. administration was "very disappointed" at the Russian blocking.

The United States wanted the statement to express "outrage at the use of air strikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including Scud missiles and 'barrel bombs,' which were dropped on Aleppo" this week.

The Doctors Without Borders group says at least 189 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded in the Aleppo bombings since Sunday.

The statement would have expressed concern at the general "escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties."

Russia would not comment publicly on the statement. But it has strongly defended Assad from Security Council action during the 33-month-old war in which the U.N. says well over 100,000 people have been killed.

"We are very disappointed that a Security Council statement expressing our collective outrage at the brutal and indiscriminant tactics employed by the Syrian regime against civilians has been blocked," said Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

"These barrel bombs -- and the explosive materials contained within them -- further underscore the brutality of the Assad regime and the lengths they will go to attack and kill their own people," he added.

"Regime air raids in and around Aleppo have continued unabated. Surely, at a minimum, the Security Council should be able to condemn such barbarities," said Cooper.

Russia and China have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions proposed by western nations to increase pressure on Assad. Statements, which are not legally binding, have only rarely been agreed on Syria.

But Russia and the United States have jointly pressed for a peace conference that U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon wants to hold in Switzerland from January 22.

U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will meet with Russian deputy foreign ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov and U.S. under secretary of state Wendy Sherman in Geneva on Friday to step up conference preparations.

The three sides have still to hammer out whether Iran and Saudi Arabia will be officially invited to the conference and other key details.

Iran, is a major backer of Assad, while Saudi Arabia supports the Syrian opposition. Iran's presence is controversial as it has not accepted a declaration adopted by the major powers in June last year which called for a transitional government in Syria.

The Syrian opposition does not accept Assad's presence in any interim government while the president has several times insisted that he will not stand down.

After the U.N.-U.S.-Russia meeting, Brahimi will call wider talks with envoys from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the European Union and Arab League, said U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.

Comments 7
Thumb geha 20 December 2013, 08:01

as usual

Thumb general_puppet 20 December 2013, 08:35

This will make all the Assad loving zombies very proud. After all Assad is not eating anyone, he only drops barrel bombs on Syrian cities and sends the occasional car bombs to Lebanon.

It was quite a sight seeing all the comments praising the Hereditary President of Syria, in the "Nobody Can Stop Assad from Running for Re-Election" article… Assad JR should be President for life, like his daddy was. Maybe in the next elections Assad should run for the dual Presidency of Syria & Lebanon, surely all his loyal M8 lackeys will guaranty him a Glorious Victory :-)

Thumb Mystic 20 December 2013, 10:32

Love to Mother Russia. When this madness is over in Syria, Lebanon will gain alot. There will be an Oil pipeline going through Iran, Iraq, Syria into Lebanon. Lebanon will flourish, and all the enemies of Syria will loose money. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, EU in general. Good job Syria. We have won, the terrorists lost. I know it's not over yet, but the worst is over :)

Thumb Mystic 20 December 2013, 10:41

Ladies and Gentlemen of M14 etc. You are fighting a lost cause, Syrian government and it's people has won, the Saudi plot failed, thank goodness that the world woke up in time before the NATO could invade, and Thank goodness the West is pulling out of Syria. FSA leader Salim Idriss has fled, Al Qaeda is raising chaos and are panicking, and Saudi are furious, they know they have lost, but just keeps pouring dollars into the few remnants of Al Qaeda in Syria.

Thumb benzona 20 December 2013, 09:41

everyone is making money out of this situation except the free syrian people and lebanon of course. it's very profitable to Iran, Russia, KSA, The West..... but not to us.

Thumb geha 20 December 2013, 10:21

look at it more in the realm of each and every one of all these ministers and officials wanting their share in the oil and gas, then you would have gotten it correctly.
what matters to all politicians is only their share of the money.

Thumb benzona 20 December 2013, 10:24

as long as we have thieves and/or murderes in control, this oil is better where it is: at the bottom of the sea. plus it's not renewable energy.