By Mamonov Roman
Russia has proposed its own draft resolution on Syria to the UN Security Council to help resolve the ongoing political standoff between the Syrian opposition and the authorities. Russia’s UN Envoy Vitaly Churkin said on Friday that the document underscored the need to halt all the violence, a proposal that raised many eyebrows in the Western, where many admitted that Moscow’s resolution could become the basis for the Security Council’s future compromise resolution.
According to human right activists, at least 5,000 people have been killed since the government crackdown on the opposition began in Syria in mid-March. UN member countries, meanwhile, remain at odds over how to react to the latest developments in this Middle Eastern country. The West insists on slapping tough international sanctions against the Bashar Assad regime which envisage resorting to the use of force against Damascus and which prompts analysts to speak of a possible repeat of the Libyan scenario in Syria. The EU and the US have already imposed unilateral sanctions against Damascus, while Russia continues to call for a diplomatic and political solution of the Syrian gridlock. To date, Russia and fellow veto-wielding China have repeatedly blocked resolutions endorsed by the EU and the US during Security Council sessions. Friday saw a U-turn, however, with Russia initiating a compromise document which condemns both the Syrian authorities and the opposition which Moscow insists must stop the violence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already signaled her readiness to discuss the Russian resolution.
She was echoed by France’s Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud who welcomed Russia’s proposal pertaining to the draft resolution but said that the text “clearly needs many amendments”. In Moscow, security expert Vladimir Sotnikov says that Russia is concerned about a possible repetition of the Libyan scenario in Syria which is why it has decided to table the appropriate resolution.
“The Libyan scenario is on the cards in Syria where the situation remains tense, Sotnikov says. It is safe to assume that the situation will almost certainly deteriorate in the coming weeks which may finally see an armed conflict between the Syrian authorities and the West’s coalition forces. Moscow is certainly unhappy about all this and is now trying to prevent the worst case scenario. Having learned lessons from their decision to okay Western resolutions on Libya, the Russian authorities are now demonstrating an independent and balanced stance,” Sotnikov concludes.
Both Russian and Western analysts have expressed confidence that Moscow’s initiative would contribute to tackling the deadlock in the talks on Syria at the UN Security Council. Boris Dolgov, of the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, shares their standpoint.
“I think that this could really be the solution, Dolgov says, because everyone knows that Western countries and NATO are trying to prompt the Security Council to adopt a different resolution, which will condemn the Syrian authorities. This may be fraught with a repeat of the Libyan scenario and everything it would entail, including bombardments, Dolgov adds. As for the draft resolution proposed by Russia, it condemns the violence by both the government and the opposition and warns against external military interference in Syria’s domestic affairs. The draft resolution urges both sides to halt the violence as soon as possible, Dolgov says, voicing hope that the Syrian opposition will okay the document which will, in turn, prompt the authorities to follow suit.”
Vitaly Churkin, on his part, pointed out that while the resolution condemns the violence, it does not call for sanctions which Moscow has repeatedly slammed as a “counterproductive measure.”