India backs U.S. push for new sanctions as crisis escalates

India regretted the vetoing of a resolution on Syria by Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council in New York on Thursday and felt that the members should have been flexible instead of sticking to their previous positions.

Explaining New Delhi’s vote for the resolution that would have slapped new sanctions on President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, Hardeep Puri, India’s Permanent Envoy to the Security Council, pointed out that the resolution supported extension of the U.N. mission in Syria and implementation of the six-point plan and the Action Group’s Final Communiqué.

The resolution, proposed by Britain, France, Germany and the U.S., would also have extended for 45 days the U.N.’s 300-man observer mission, the mandate for which expires on Friday.

“In our view, it would have been preferable for the Council members to show flexibility, so that a united message could be conveyed to all sides to the crisis instead of pursuing domestic interests. It is, therefore, regrettable that the Council has not been able to adopt the resolution… and send a joint message that was sought by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan,” Mr. Puri said.

Mr. Puri began by condoling with the deaths of a number of top officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Dawood Rajha, in Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Damascus. “We strongly condemn this mindless and cowardly act of terrorism.”

Continuing with its even-handed approach to the violence, India blamed all parties for failing to comply with their obligations under the six-point plan. “Instead of a political process, parties have continued to pursue a military approach that continues to cause death and destruction in the country. There is an urgent need for the Syrian parties to recommit themselves to the complete cessation of violence and comprehensive implementation of the six-point plan.”

Prolonged instability and unrest in Syria could have ramifications for the entire region and beyond, he warned. This is why India wanted to retain the U.N. mission in Syria to bear “impartial witness” to events and to assist the Syrian parties in their search for a solution to the crisis without any further bloodshed.

The U.N. team’s presence was necessary also to facilitate the implementation of the six-point plan and the Action Group’s Final Communiqué that were the only “viable processes” for the engagement of the international community in the resolution of the crisis.

Despite the stalemate, India again urged all Council members to reconsider their approach and ensure that the mandate of the U.N. mission was extended and Mr. Annan’s mission was supported.

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