It is time for the UN Security Council (UNSC) , which has been guilty of “inaction” and “neglect” during 10 months of Syrian violence, to endorse an Arab League plan for a political transition in Syria, the U.S. envoy to the UN said on Monday.
Ambassador Susan Rice was speaking a day before Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar’s prime minister are due to plead with the 15-nation Security Council to back the league’s plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer powers to his deputy to prepare for free elections.
“We have seen the consequences of neglect and inaction by this council over the course of the last 10 months, not because the majority of the council isn’t eager to act – it has been,” Rice told reporters.
“But there have been a couple of very powerful members who have not been willing to see that action take place,” she said. “That may yet still be the case.”
Rice was referring to Russia and China, which vetoed a European-drafted Security Council resolution in October that would have condemned Syria and threatened it with possible sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will attend Tuesday’s council meeting with Elaraby, along with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, also urged the council to adopt a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing the Arab League plan.
“The Security Council must act and make clear to the Syrian regime that the world community views its actions as a threat to peace and security,” Clinton said in a statement. “The violence must end, so that a new period of democratic transition can begin.”
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said last week that he was willing to engage on the European-Arab draft resolution, which Morocco submitted to the council. But while he did not explicitly threaten to use his veto, he said the draft resolution was unacceptable in its current state.
Diplomats said Elaraby would be meeting with Churkin behind closed doors in New York to explain to him that vetoing the draft resolution would be tantamount to vetoing the Arab world.
A vote on the draft resolution is unlikely before Thursday or Friday, Western diplomats said on condition of anonymity.