Russia says Syria aid draft could open door to military action

Russia says Syria aid draft could open door to military action

Russia denounced on Wednesday a Western-Arab draft U.N. Security Council resolution on humanitarian aid access in Syria as a bid to lay the groundwork for military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, Reuters reported.

Russia announced it would veto the current text because it contains "one-sided accusations" against Assad's government, though Russia and its Security Council ally China said they are prepared to negotiate on a new draft if such a move could boost aid access.

Since receiving the draft resolution on Thursday, Moscow has been outspoken in its opposition. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described it as "detached from reality," while U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed it as a "non-starter."

On Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov added to Moscow's argument: "Its whole purpose and aim is to create grounds for future military action against the Syrian government if some demands it includes are not met."

"It is unacceptable to us in the form in which it is now being prepared, and we, of course, will not let it through," said Gatilov, according to state-run news agency RIA.

But Russia appears to have softened its long-held resistance to a resolution on Syria aid access, which was drafted by Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan, by signaling it would be willing to work with the council on a new draft. Diplomats said Russia presented amendments to the draft at a meeting on Wednesday of the permanent council members, known as the "P5."

"The P5 ambassadors will meet on (Thursday) to merge the texts," a council diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "We're all working on a draft and that's good."

Several diplomats, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Churkin had told the Security Council on Tuesday he did not like 30 percent of the current draft resolution, but did not specify what aspects he disagreed with.

Russia and China have shielded Syria on the U.N. Security Council during the country's three-year-long civil war. The pair have vetoed three resolutions condemning Syria's government and threatening it with possible sanctions.

Russia has said it is not trying to prop up Assad, but that he must not be forced out by foreign powers and it opposes Western military intervention.

The United States threatened air strikes after a deadly gas attack in August, but that threat was averted when Assad pledged to give up his chemical weapons.

The draft aid text, obtained by Reuters, expresses an intent to impose sanctions on individuals and entities obstructing aid and if certain demands in the resolution are not met within 15 days of its adoption. It does not threaten military action for non-compliance with council demands and makes no reference to provisions of the U.N. charter covering the use of force.

Some Western diplomats have suggested Moscow is attempting to stall any Security Council action on the humanitarian situation in Syria until the Winter Olympics, being held in Sochi, Russia, finish on February 23.

"The Russians are playing for time. We would like to complete negotiations and put this to a vote soon," said one senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There is a text on the table, it is negotiable and we're happy to negotiate."

The draft resolution condemns rights abuses by Syrian authorities and armed groups, and demands that Syrian forces stop all aerial bombardment of cities and towns as well as the indiscriminate use of bombs, rockets and related weapons.

It also condemns "increased terrorist attacks," and calls for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters from Syria.

When asked if Beijing would negotiate on a draft text to try and increase aid access, China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi said on Wednesday, "We'll work with the other council members."

"We're all concerned about the humanitarian problem in Syria and the important things are to achieve unity of the council and also to work in ways that will actually facilitate the ongoing political process in Geneva," he said, referring to fragile Syrian peace talks in Switzerland.

"Also we need to see what kind of a reaction from the council can actually be helpful on the ground in terms of actually delivering humanitarian access," Liu said.

The United Nations says some 9.3 million Syrians - nearly half the country's population - need help and U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos has repeatedly expressed frustration that violence and red tape are slowing the aid deliveries to a trickle.

Western members of the Security Council have been considering a resolution on aid for almost a year. After months of talks, the council eventually adopted a non-binding statement on October 2 urging more access to aid, but that statement produced little administrative progress.

Amos, who is due to brief the Security Council behind closed doors on Thursday, told a council debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict on Wednesday that there were some 250,000 people trapped in besieged areas of Syria.

The Syrian government and opposition have agreed on a pause in hostilities to allow the delivery of aid and the evacuation of civilians from Homs, Syria's third-largest city, though aid workers came under attack over the weekend.

Russian officials have said the agreement on Homs has demonstrated that a Security Council resolution was not needed to address the problem at this point, and could serve as a template for similar operations elsewhere in Syria.

The United Nations says that well over 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that more than 136,000 have been killed since the uprising began against Assad.

Uzbekistan considers production of Bentley electric vehicles
Uzbekistan considers production of Bentley electric vehicles
FAO supports innovation in Uzbekistan’s silk industry
FAO supports innovation in Uzbekistan’s silk industry
Uzbekistan to introduce mechanism for calculating property tax based on cadastral value
Uzbekistan to introduce mechanism for calculating property tax based on cadastral value
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijan presents musical composition commemorating martyrs of Patriotic War (VIDEO)
Amnesty International unveils photo proof of Armenian-inflicted damage in liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Iran to increase revenue by development of gas transmission
Energy Commission of Iranian Chamber of Commerce discusses oil revenue forecast
9 Azerbaijani gymnasts return from European Championships with medals - head coach
Ukraine to continue supporting Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
Mountain Jewish Community honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan’s Patriotic War (PHOTO)
UNHCR talks cooperation with Turkmenistan on fight against statelessness
ENI to support activities of center to develop oil&gas engineering in Kazakhstan
Beeline mobile operator working in Khankendi city - fake news, Russian web portal says
Azerbaijan Banks Association to develop digital payment ecosystem
Trade takes up largest share in total turnover of Georgian business sector
Uzbekistan considers production of Bentley electric vehicles
Iran's Minister of Petroleum discusses OPEC+ meetings
Kazakhstan more than doubles petroleum oil exports to Croatia
Caspian Drilling Company updates on Satti rig upgrade
Gold price in Azerbaijan up
Kazakhstan, Austria trade turnover down year-on-year
Turkmenistan exploring possibility of producing cement from local raw materials
Turkmenistan working to maintain technical condition of gas pipelines
OPEC+ decision: Oil glut could be hitting the market soon
Georgia hits record high COVID-19 daily cases
Azerbaijan Banks Association implementing new banking services project
Georgia plans to subsidize the interest on leasing for event companies
Georgian business sector shows downward trend in production
German industrial orders rise more than expected in October
Azerbaijan launches joint ATM network of commercial banks
Clients of closed banks in Azerbaijan continue receiving compensations
Kazakhstan doubles exports to Croatia despite COVID-19 pandemic
Any threats against Azerbaijan's territorial integrity must be averted, Erdogan tells Rouhani
Azerbaijan commemorates bright memory of martyrs with minute of silence (VIDEO)
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva pay tribute to Azerbaijani martyrs (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan launches electricity production project in its Mangystau region
FAO supports innovation in Uzbekistan’s silk industry
Baku Refinery exceeds plans for crude oil refining
Azerbaijani oil price on the rise
Uzbekistan to introduce mechanism for calculating property tax based on cadastral value
New fresh water deposits discovered in Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan records improving main indicators of stock market
Karabakh conflict was resolved by military-political means - President of Azerbaijan
French government does not recognize independence of Karabakh - ambassador
During last 2 years, Armenia deliberately destroyed negotiation process - President of Azerbaijan
Until last moment Armenia by all means tried to undermine preparatory process to hold UN Special Session - President Aliyev
Oil prices jump after OPEC+ inks supply compromise
It was inevitable to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions by force - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan taken timely, necessary preventive measures to stop coronavirus spread - President Aliyev
Since pandemic outbreak in Azerbaijan, country is in close contact with WHO - president
REAP to promote introduction of sustainable production in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
Uzbekistan eyes to significantly reduce coal mining cost at Shargun deposit
Turkmenistan, Italy identify priority areas of cooperation
There is great need for joint efforts of int'l community to counter COVID-19 - President Aliyev
Opportunities to accept payments through bank cards developing in Azerbaijan
President Ilham Aliyev: We remember our martyrs with respect (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan continues digitalization of various structures
China’s trade partners frustrated with frozen food coronavirus tests
Turkish Embassy extends condolences regarding Azerbaijan's martyrs
Azerbaijan supports OPEC+ decision on rising crude oil production
Turkish Erzurum Airport reduces cargo, passenger traffic in 10M2020
Azerbaijani president addresses Special Session of UN General Assembly in response to COVID 19 pandemic
Euronews airs story about Tartar's Sugovushan village, liberated from Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
French ambassador to be summoned to Azerbaijan's MFA
Turkish Dervisoglu eyes to set up production in Kazakhstan with further export to US
Azerbaijani currency rates for Dec. 4
Azerbaijan sees year-on-year decline in imports from Israel
Natural gas to become leading source in global energy mix by mid-century
Kazakhstan takes on new responsibilities to cut oil output within OPEC+ deal
South Korean Ambassador to Turkmenistan completes diplomatic mission
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for December 4
Russian-Kazakh uranium venture opens tender for wells maintenance
Destructive position of Armenia drags it into abyss - Azerbaijan's MFA
Iran says plan to exit NPT not contradictory with IAEA-related issues
Nasdaq apologises for Australia stock exchange outage
Number of coronavirus cases worldwide exceeds 65 million - Johns Hopkins University
Khaf-Herat railway to be officially inaugurated in 10 days
Turkey reports over 32,000 new COVID-19 cases
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count up to 819
European Commissioner Varhelyi says EU stands by Georgia
Uzbekistan to attract carbon credits to create forest plantations
U.S. in talks with Huawei CFO Meng on resolving criminal charges
Brazil's COVID-19 death toll tops 175,000
Import of cars from Turkey to Russia down during COVID-19
Moscow reports 77 coronavirus deaths in the past day
UK coronavirus deaths top 60,000 as another 414 recorded
OPEC+ supports 0.5 mln bpd output growth since January, monthly meetings
Memory of martyrs of Patriotic War to be honored with minute of silence in Azerbaijan today
Four killed in large blast in western England: local police
Kazakhstan's revenue from petroleum oil exports to Hungary surge
Georgian NCDC Head urges symptomatic citizens to undergo antigen test
Iran, Turkey call for increased economic coop.
Turkey grapples with COVID-19 surge in 3 cities amid vaccine hope
Kazakhstan's oil & gas company opens tender to buy spares
It is through coordinated, concerted global response based on unity, multilateral cooperation that international community can craft strategies to mitigate effects of COVID-19 - President Aliyev
Special Session of UN General Assembly is remarkable success for Member States of NAM - President Aliyev
Non-Aligned Movement praises activities of UN system in response to COVID-19 - President Aliyev
Throughout 2020 global community faced greatest health crisis in recent history - President Aliyev
Turkmenistan proposes to widen cooperation in the area of nature protection and climate change on the OSCE platform
Turkmenistan committed to humanitarian cooperation within the OSCE
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company discloses amount of investments in Georgia's economy
Annual production volume from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to increase by 2023
Azerbaijani president delivers speech at special session of UN General Assembly (PHOTO/VIDEO)
All news