Premature to corner Syrian regime: China
The double veto by Russia and China, which caused the collapse of the draft resolution, that was supported by 13 of the 15 Council members, including India, visibly upset the Western nations, especially the U.S. and France.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy signalled that change of tactics to cause a turnaround were now in the pipeline. He said France was engaging fellow European and Arab partners to establish a “group of friends of the Syrian people” to support the Arab League plan that called for Mr. Assad to transfer power to his deputy and a national unity government.
“France is not giving up,” Mr. Sarkozy asserted. Susan E. Rice, U.S. envoy to the U.N. said the U.S. would explore more ways with its allies, including further sanctions.
The Chinese said it was premature to corner the Syrian regime before all means of dialogue had been exhausted. Li Baodong, Chinese representative, said consultation was needed before the Council denounced Damascus.
The West has apparently been piqued by the veto cast by Russia and China as both sides seemed to have narrowed down their differences on a key issue — the demand for the exit of Mr. Assad from government. The New York Times is reporting that “Western Ambassadors had dropped specific references in the resolution to Mr. Assad's ceding power”.
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in the city of Homs, the epicentre of the revolt, seemed to have weighed heavily on the tenor of the U.N. debate as it tailed towards its final phase. The BBC is reporting quoting two opposition groups that a regime assault in Homs that began on Friday night has killed anywhere between 62 and 200 people—a figure that is hard to confirm on account of the virtual media blackout that the regime has imposed.
U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement decried “the Syrian government's unspeakable assault against the people of Homs”.
The impasse, which is likely to cement into diplomatic polarisation appeared to have fuelled a situation of extended conflict — some say civil war. The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has already accused Moscow and Beijing “for escalation of killings and genocide,”— a language that hardly bodes well for early reconciliation.