June 14, 2011 (Reuters)
June 14, 2011 (Reuters)
France’s U.N. envoy appealed to skeptical Brazil on Monday to support a European draft resolution that would condemn Syria for its bloody crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.
Brazil, like India and South Africa, has expressed reservations about the draft resolution prepared by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal. Russia and China have suggested they might veto the text.
The result, U.N. diplomats said, is a deadlock on the 15-nation Security Council. It remains unclear when, and if, the Europeans will put the draft resolution to a vote.
“The Brazilian government denounced the use of force in Syria and demanded that a political process respond to the aspirations of the Syrian people,” French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo.
“We sincerely hope that Brazil’s vote will reflect this support for the democratic aspirations of Arab people,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the French U.N. mission.
Araud said the draft resolution “has no other goal than to encourage the Syrian authorities to take heed of the aspirations of their people, and to launch a national political dialogue, without foreign interference.”
“For that to happen the violence must stop,” Araud added.
Security Council diplomats met on Saturday in the hope they could break the deadlock on a draft resolution that would not impose sanctions on Syria but would condemn it for the crackdown and suggest Syrian security forces might be guilty of crimes against humanity.
Russia and China never showed up for the meeting, envoys said.
Last week, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota told reporters in New York that a resolution condemning Syria could inflame tensions in the region.
Western diplomats have suggested Russia and China are using the positions of the other powerful members of the so-called BRICS group – India, Brazil and South Africa – as a pretext for possibly vetoing the Syria resolution.
“Syria (discussion) is a deadlock, with Russia and China hiding behind India, Brazil and South Africa,” one Western diplomat told Reuters. “Absolute shame.”
If Brazil, India and South Africa changed their positions on the resolution and agreed to vote for it, Russia and China might change their positions, the diplomat said.
Western powers, another diplomat said, are using bilateral channels to put pressure on Brazil, India and South Africa to vote for the draft text.
Russia has said it is concerned action on Syria by the Security Council could open the door to Libya-style Western intervention. Moscow has accused NATO of overstepping its U.N. mandate to protect civilians in Libya.
The United States is not sponsoring the Syria resolution but has made clear it supports the text and condemns the violence against the demonstrators. It accused the Syrian government on Saturday of creating a “humanitarian crisis” and called on it to halt its offensive.
Given Lebanon’s complicated ties to its neighbour Syria, diplomats said they expected it to vote against the draft.
To pass, resolutions need nine votes in favour and no vetoes from the five permanent council members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.