December 8, 2013
US gives up on UN Security Council in Syria crisis, blames Russia
The United States declared that it has given up trying to work with the UN Security Council on Syria, accusing Russia of holding the council hostage and allowing Moscow's allies in Syria to deploy poison gas against innocent children.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power's remarks left no doubt that Washington would not seek UN approval for a military strike on Syria in response to an Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus. She said a draft resolution Britain submitted to the five permanent council members last week calling for a response to that attack was effectively dead.
"I was present in the meeting where the UK laid down the resolution, and everything in that meeting, in word and in body language, suggests that that resolution has no prospect of being adopted, by Russia in particular," Power told reporters.
"Our considered view, after months of efforts on chemical weapons and after 2-1/2 years of efforts on Geneva (peace talks), the humanitarian situation is that there is no viable path forward in this Security Council," she said.
After Britain submitted the draft resolution to fellow Security Council veto powers China, France, Russia and the United States, its parliament voted against British participation in planned US military strikes to punish Syria's government for the chemical attack.
Washington, which is seeking US congressional approval for military action, blames the latest poison gas attack on forces loyal to Assad. The United States says that sarin gas attack killed over 1,400 people, many of them children.
Power said the 15-nation council failed to live up to its role as the guardian of international peace and security.
"Unfortunately for the past 2-1/2 years, the system devised in 1945 precisely to deal with threats of this nature did not work as it is supposed to," Power said. "It did not protect peace and security for the hundreds of Syrian children who were gassed to death on Aug. 21."
"The system has protected the prerogatives of Russia, the patron of a regime that would brazenly stage the world's largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter century while chemical weapons inspectors sent by the United Nations were just across town," she said.