By Benjamin Villanti
By Benjamin Villanti
Morocco World News
New York, July 18, 2012
Leaders of the Syrian National Council met on Tuesday in New York with different United Nations ambassadors, including from Russia, as the UN Security Council prepares to vote this week on a new Syrian resolution. Their message, which they shared at a press conference, was that they support the current efforts in the Security Council to pass a resolution that threatens sanctions against the Syrian government. However, if the proposal fails, the opposition organization warned that it would give up on efforts to resolve the conflict at the United Nations.
The head of SNC Foreign Relations Bureau, Dr. Bassma Kodmani stated, “we can not continue to hit a Russian wall, and say there is nothing that the international community can do,” in reference to Russia’s strong opposition so far to any resolution mentioning sanctions. “If the message is that there is no way that we can get anything done at the Security Council,” Kodmani continued, “we are asking for considering seriously other options.” Kodmani noted that other Security Council members have their “sovereign will and are able to make decisions” to protect civilians in Syria or to arm Syrians.
During the press conference with UN reporters, which lasted nearly an hour, issues arose including how the SNC responds to the Russian concern that the fall of the Assad regime will likely be replaced by Islamist extremists and lead to persecution of sectarian and religious minorities. George Neto, of the Foreign Relations Office of the SNC, pointed out that “the argument that the regime as a safer option than the alternative is a badly exhausted argument. If there is anxiety, there is anxiety from the present situation much more than from the future of the country.”
On concerns over various opposition groups, Dr. Kodmani noted that there has never been in history an opposition that had united under one organization. She stated, “If you want unity of the Syrian opposition’s voice, you will not get it” but added that she believed there existed among the opposition “a joint vision in the objectives and process.”
A vote is scheduled to take place today Wednesday afternoon on a European and American draft resolution that is written under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, threatening sanctions. But this schedule may still change. Russia has presented its own draft resolution, which does not include a Chapter 7 reference, which it might also call to be voted on this week.
The deadline for the Security Council to agree on a resolution is the end of Friday, July 20, when the mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria, known as UNSMIS, is set to expire.