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UN Week –4/23/12

April 23, 2012

This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone.

by John and Douglas Carey

Contents of this issue:progress on Syria.

          For the second week in a row, we can express pleasant surprise at unusually fast and unanimous action in the Security Council, again on Syria. What makes it even more delightful is that the charge was led by the two countries that have been the biggest foot-draggers when it comes to Syria. This time it was Russia that submitted the resolution to the Council, while China co-sponsored it. And Syria actually told the Security Council that dispatching UN monitors was a basic Syrian demand.

 But first a bit of background.

At a “press gaggle” on Friday morning, April 20th, this exchange took place, giving a window into how governments operate in the Security Council:

Ambassador Rice: We had a working session as you know. It lasted—what, three hours? Three and a half hours? And out of it has emerged an ad ref text that various Council members will send back to their capitals for instruct-tions. If Council members are in a position to vote, we are aiming to do so tomorrow around 11. It’s possible that not everybody will have instructions at that point. It’s possible that there will not be an agreed text at that point. We’ll see, and we’ll re-group accordingly. So, I regret to say we’ll see you for a second consecutive Saturday.

Reporter: Does the U.S. support the compromises that were made?

Ambassador Rice: The U.S. will take the text back to Washington and review it carefully, and we’ll come to our final judgment.

          The subject was Syria, and the outcome on Saturday April 21st was described as follows by US Ambassador Rice in her explanation of vote following the adoption of Security Council resolution 2043:

“The United States has voted in favor of resolution 2043 authorizing the establishment of a UN supervision mission in Syria, but we are sober about the risks, all the more so given the Assad regime’s long record of broken promises, deceit and disregard for the most basic standards of humanity.

“The Syrian people, like us, know that the deployment of 300 or even 3,000 unarmed observers cannot, on its own, stop the Assad regime from waging its barbaric campaign of violence against the Syrian people. What can bring a halt to this murderous rampage is continued and intensified external pressure on the Assad regime. The Syrian opposition has said that it welcomes the deployment of the UN military observers and additional human rights and other civilian monitors, because they will be impartial eyes and ears on the ground to bear witness to the Syrian government’s flagrant and persistent violations of its commitments. Even more so, the Syrian people expect — and they deserve — that this Council will stand behind today’s resolution and ensure that swift and meaningful consequences are imposed should the regime continue to flout its obligations.

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