Moscow: Russia has said it will veto any new Western-backed UN resolution against Syria, pouring cold water on plans to up pressure on the regime. But recent defections betray cracks in the Syrian government according to some.
Talking to media, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Thursday that it would staunchly oppose a potential Western-backed and militarily enforceable resolution on Syria that the UN Security Council was due to consider voting on later in the day.
“If they decide this (a vote on Thursday) – knowing that for us the text is unacceptable – then we will not allow it to pass,” the deputy FM said.
But Gatilov expressed his doubt that a vote would take place as soon as Thursday.
“The process of consultations is only just starting and should take some time,” he said.
“As a whole, their resolution is unbalanced and foresees that obligations should only be fulfilled by the Syrian government. Practically nothing is said about the obligations of the opposition,” he added.
Russia and Britain have put forward rival texts for a fresh Security Council resolution that deals with questions relating to the UN’s observer mission in Syria, whose mandate is due to expire on July 20 and, more generally, how to end the conflict.
The British draft threatens President Bashar Assad’s regime with sanctions unless it withdraws troops from urban centers in the next 10 days. Although the sanctions are non-military, the resolution would come under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VII allows the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and take military action to “restore international peace and security.”
According to UN estimates more than 17000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, after a popular uprising against the Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad.