The UN Security Council should reach consensus on a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said on Tuesday.
“We believe a consensus of the Security Council members on Syria is not only necessary but possible,” Churkin told the UN Security Council meeting discussing a new draft resolution on Syria proposed by the Arab League, which urges President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government's 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.
The Russian envoy said the Council may not dictate domestic policy regulation methods to any country as it has “no charter powers for that.”
“We reject any sanction approaches, any attempts to use the Security Council instruments to feed the conflict, to justify an eventual foreign military intervention,” the diplomat said.
Russia and China vetoed a European-drafted resolution containing the threat of sanctions against Syria in October 2011.
Russia, one of Assad’s firm supporters during the uprising against his regime, indicated earlier on Tuesday that it would veto the draft resolution calling on Assad to step down and providing for “further measures” should he refuse. Moscow has proposed its own draft, which the West criticized as being too soft.
Some Western countries have been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation, but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”
In Libya, rebels ousted and killed long-standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 after a months-long military standoff in which they received assistance from NATO forces.
Meanwhile, U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton on Tuesday dismissed Russia’s fears that a “Libyan scenario” could repeat in Syria.
“I know that some members here may be concerned that the Security Council could be headed toward another Libya. That is a false analogy,” Clinton said in the UN Security Council.
“Syria is a unique situation that requires its own approach, tailored to the specific circumstances occurring there. And that is exactly what the Arab League has proposed - a path for a political transition that would preserve Syria’s unity and institutions,” Clinton said.