Syria: Arab League Secretary-General, Qatari Prime Minister to Brief Security Council as Members Grapple with Recent Draft Resolution
31 January 2012
Nabil El Araby, Secretary-General of the Arab League, and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, Prime Minister (PM) of Qatar and head of the League’s Syria committee, arrived in New York on 29 January, hoping to obtain support for the joint Western-Arab League draft resolution circulated on 27 January. The two are set to brief the Council on 31 January at 3 p.m. on the situation in Syria and the Arab League’s recently proposed initiative to resolve the crisis.
The League has called on the Syrian President to immediately hand power over to his deputy in order to begin the process of a political transition, which would include negotiations with the opposition, the formation of a national unity government, and the holding of elections. (…)
The recent deliberations of the new draft resolution circulated by Morocco and with the support of Western powers and Arab states have been marked by diplomatic clashes with Moscow. As noted in our 27 January post on preliminary discussions of the draft resolution, the Russian delegation was skeptical and “disappointed” with the document. Their skepticism continued on 30 January, with the BBC reporting that Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stated that Russia would block the draft resolution from passing, which he said left open the “possibility for intervention in Syria.”
On 31 January, Gatilov tweeted that pushing the resolution forward was the “path to civil war” in the country The Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, echoed this position, but said that his delegation would continue to engage the draft resolution’s co-sponsors.
(…) Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, dispelled the notion that any of these measures were included in the draft resolution at a media
stakeout on 30 January:
We think that what is contained in this resolution is quite straight forward. There are no sanctions. There is no use of force, or threat of the use of force, as some have alleged. It is primarily a straightforward condemnation of what has transpired, a call upon the government of Syria to adhere to the commitments it made to Arab League and an endorsement of the Arab League plan, which we think is vitally important in the minimum that the Council should do. (…)
Western nations have joined the Arab League Secretary-General and Qatari PM in lobbying for the draft resolution among Council Members. (…)
As a result of the lobbying, Agence France Press (AFP) has reported that the “balance within the Security Council has evolved”, with 10 of the 15 Council Members now supporting the draft resolution. With the necessary support in the Council, the Guardian reported that a vote could come on 1 or 2 February. Nine Members of the Council need to vote in favour of a resolution for it to pass, but a Russian or Chinese veto would effectively block Council action. (…)
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