According to the British GUARDIAN newspaper, the draft resolution particularly provides that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would resign his commission to the vice-president of the country to form a government of national unity for the period of transition.
Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, commenting on this proposal, stressed that the Security Council can not dictate parameters of internal political settlement to anyone. “He has no statutory powers for this purpose,” said the Russian diplomat.
The essence of Moscow’s position was very frankly explained by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“The Russian policy does not consist in requesting someone to resign. The regimes change is not our profession,” he said on Tuesday in an interview with the Australian ABC TV channel. At the same time Lavrov rejected the notion that Russia supports al-Assad, whatever happens. “We are neither friends nor allies of the President al-Assad,” said the Minister.
According to the researcher of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexey Potserob, the USA, the UK and the Gulf States “are trying to decide which leader is legitimate in Syria, while this right belongs only to the people of Syria.”
Another more important point in controversy between Russia and the West concerning Syria is related to the application of the UN resolution for justifying a military solution to the conflict situation in the country.
The draft resolution of the Security Council, according to Reuters, stresses “the need to resolve the current crisis in Syria by peaceful means” and does not allow the use of force against al-Assad. However, the agency points out that the document includes a vague warning of possible “additional measures” in case of Syria’s non-compliance with UN demands. The Guardian, in turn, also notes that the provisions of the draft resolution do not rule out the possibility of warfighting in Syria in the future.
Vitaly Churkin said in this regard: “We reject any sanction attempts, any attempt to use the instruments of the Security Council for feeding the conflict, justifying the eventual foreign military intervention.”
Shortly before the UN Security Council meeting, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is now at the UN headquarters in New York, where he and his colleagues on the Security Council are trying to “establish as soon as possible a strong resolution.” “Our signal to Russians is as follows: if you try to veto or seriously weaken the resolution, you will find yourself not only outside the world-wide approach but also outside the approach of the League of Arab States itself,” said Cameron.
This is an obvious exaggeration – Russia’s position is fully shared by the other permanent member of the UN Security Council - China.
The Permanent Representative of China to the UN Lee Baodun said “China comes out strong against the use of force to solve the Syrian problem and radically disagrees with the regime change in Syria through the use of force. This is a violation of the UN Charter and the basic provisions governing the international relations.”
It is obvious that Russia and China will block any draft resolution allowing any intervention in the Syrian affairs.
Russia is clearly concerned that the intervention of foreign countries will lead to the repeat in Syria of what had happened in Libya, where authorized by the UN Security Council, NATO forces helped the opposition to overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also participated in the UN Security Council meeting, has ruled out such developments in Syria. “Some member states may be worried that the Security Council is leading to another Libya. It is a false analogy,” she stressed. Secretary of State seems to refer to Lavrov’s January statement in which he says: “We consider it totally unacceptable to try to extend the so-called “Libyan precedent” for other conflicts.
Moscow does not want to ignore the fact that NATO on basis of this resolution, has sided with the opposition and for six months conducted air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. In addition, the anti-Libyan coalition has openly violated the United Nations ban on supply of arms to the conflicting parties. It was openly admitted by France. And finally, the infamous lynching of Colonel Gaddafi, who had been recently received in many capitals as the guest of honor.
All this not only cast doubt on the UN mechanism of settlement of crisis situations. The blow fell on the most fragile element of international relations - confidence.