UNITED NATIONS: The US declared yesterday that it has given up trying to work with the UN Security Council on Syria, accusing Russia of holding the council hostage and allowing Moscow’s allies in Syria to deploy poison gas against innocent children.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s remarks left no doubt that Washington would not seek UN approval for a military strike on Syria in response to the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus. She said a draft resolution Britain submitted to the five permanent council members last week calling for a response to that attack was dead.
“I was present in the meeting where the UK laid down the resolution, and everything in that meeting, in word and in body language, suggests that that resolution has no prospect of being adopted, by Russia in particular,” Power said.
“Our considered view, after months of efforts on chemical weapons and after two-and-a-half years of efforts on Geneva (peace talks), the humanitarian situation is that there is no viable path forward in this Security Council,” she said.
After Britain submitted the draft resolution to council veto powers China, France, Russia and the US, its parliament voted against British participation in planned US military strikes to punish Syria’s government for the chemical attack.
Washington, which is seeking US congressional approval for military action, blames the latest poison gas attack on forces loyal to Assad. The US says that sarin gas attack killed over 1,400 people, many of them children.
Power said the 15-nation council failed to live up to its role as the guardian of international peace and security.
Meanwhile, world leaders meet at a G20 summit in Russia where US President Barack Obama will strive to bridge deep divisions over his push for military action against the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
He said the world had set “a red line” for Syria and it could not now remain silent in the face of the alleged chemical weapons attack on Damascus suburbs.
“I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line,” he said, referring to international rules banning the use of chemical weapons, even in case of war. “My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line and America and Congress’s credibility is on the line.” The US is also weighing expanding support for Syrian rebels by having the Pentagon take charge of arming the opposition instead of a clandestine effort by the CIA, officials said.