Russia blocks UN Council statement on Syria
UNITED NATIONS, July 16: Russia on Monday blocked a proposed UN Security Council statement on mass killings in the Syrian village of Treimsa, diplomats said amid worsening deadlock over international action on the conflict.
Russian envoys opposed the statement saying it was not clear what had happened, council diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
A draft statement had been proposed saying that the attack on the village on Thursday was a Syrian government “violation” of its commitments to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan not to use heavy weapons. But Russia put a hold on its release.
Dozens of people were killed in Treimsa by President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and pro-government militias, according to Syrian activists. The government has denied involvement. Russia has called for Major General Robert Mood, the head of the UN
Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to brief the council on the killings.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said UNSMIS was still trying to check the facts of what happened in Treimsa, but added that it was “quite apparent that something terrible happened there and that heavy weaponry was used.” Western diplomats said they would now probably stop pressing for the statement so the 15-nation council can concentrate on negotiating a formal
resolution on the future of the UN mission in Syria which has to be agreed by Friday.
Britain, France, United States, Germany and Portugal want a resolution that includes the threat of sanctions if Assad does not halt the use of heavy weapons. Russia rejects the threat of sanctions.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the Western nations were using “elements of blackmail” against his country to get agreement on sanctions.
Council ambassadors held more talks on the resolution on Monday. If they fail to agree a resolution by July 20, the UN Supervision Mission in Syria may have to close down this weekend.
One senior European official said that the Western nations wanted to hold a Security Council vote on Wednesday.—AFP