The UN Security Council has been engaging in contentious debate over a draft resolution concerning the ongoing strife in Syria.
The resolution, based on the contours of an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and make way for a new unity government, has also increased tensions between the US and Syrian’s patron, Russia.
Russia has been steadfast in its intentions to veto the Western-Arab draft resolution unless it has language that unequivocally rules out military intervention in Syria. The draft “is missing the most important thing: a clear clause ruling out the possibility that the resolution could be used to justify military intervention in Syrian affairs from outside. For this reason I see no chance this draft could be adopted,” said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union.
“We all have a choice,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in comments before the Security Council, “stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there.”
Russia and China vetoed a resolution last fall condemning the Assad regime, and Russia continues to supply Syria with military equipment despite Western calls to halt such transfers.
Western diplomats would like to see a Security Council vote take place this week, but the impending Russian veto figures heavily into their calculus.