US blames Russia, China for Annan mission failure

August 3rd, 2012 - 4:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 3 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The resignation of UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan highlights the failure of Russia and China to back strong action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the White House has said.

Annan, who assumed his post in February and authored a six-point peace plan aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, announced Thursday that he would quit by the end of the month citing the deadlock at the UN Security Council over ways to resolve the current political crisis in the country.

“Annan’s resignation highlights the failure at the UN Security Council of Russia and China to support resolutions — meaningful resolutions against Assad that would have held Assad accountable for his failure to abide by his commitments under the Annan plan,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.

Russia and China have vetoed all Western-backed UN resolutions on Syria over fears that they could lead to foreign military intervention in the violence-torn Middle East country.

“Those vetoes, as we’ve said repeatedly, were highly regrettable, and place both Russia and China on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of the Syrian people,” Carney said.

The UN General Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a draft resolution on Syria proposed by Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which urges the Syrian government to refrain from using chemical weapons, to halt violence and bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations in Syria.

The Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday that Russia would not support this document either as it “places responsibility only on the Syrian authorities, while the opposition remains outside the international community’s demands”.

Although resolutions approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly are not mandatory, their adoption has a moral authority. Voting is by simple majority, with no right of veto as in the Security Council votes, which Russia and China have used recently to block adoption of resolutions on Syria.

The Syrian conflict has claimed 14,000-20,000 lives since March 2011, according to estimates by Syrian opposition groups and the UN. The West is pushing for Assad’s ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, claiming the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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