Obama's pick for UN has harsh words for inaction on Syria
President Barack Obama's nominee to serve as US ambassador to the United Nations sharply criticized the UN Security Council Wednesday for its deadlock on Syria, calling inaction by the body "a disgrace that history would judge harshly", dpa reported.
Samantha Power, a longtime Obama aide known for her vocal opinions on human rights and genocide prevention, told a confirmation hearing in the US Senate that Syria was "one of the most critical issues facing us today" and called atrocities by President Bashar al-Assad's regime among the most devastating she had ever seen.
She noted, however, that the United States must be "clear-eyed and not overly optimistic" in dealing with Russia, which along with China has blocked action on Syria in the council.
Obama in May nominated the White House adviser to replace Susan Rice at the UN, praising her for advocacy of moral responsibility in resolving conflicts and defending human rights.
Rice was chosen by Obama to serve as his national security adviser after controversy over the handling of last year's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, scuttled plans to tap her as secretary of state.
Power's past positions on intervention in humanitarian crises have led to speculation about whether she would advocate a more active role for the US in Syria. The Obama administration last month for the first time said it would supply arms to the rebels but has provided no details about the status of that aid.
Power faced questioning by Republican senators who demanded explanations for her past remarks on Israel and the US role in the world.
She stressed her support for Israel and said the UN must be fair and not single out Israel and emphasized her pride in the US in an attempt to put to rest concerns she would be overly apologetic for past US policy.
"This is the greatest country on Earth; we have nothing to apologize for," she said.
Power must be confirmed by the Senate before taking on her role at the UN.