Comment by the Information and Press Department on work on Syria in the UN Security Council
On March 10, the UN Security Council approved a press statement on a regular round of the UN-sponsored intra-Syrian talks that ended in Geneva on March 3. In the course of work on the document, the Russian delegation managed to preserve its balanced nature, ensuring its emphasis on political settlement issues. The statement welcomes the results of the Geneva meeting and endorses the parameters proposed by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, which include four equal negotiating thematic “baskets” focused on governance issues, constitutional reform, elections and a joint fight against terrorism. In a separate point, it stresses the importance of the Astana process, involving representatives of the Syrian authorities and the armed opposition.
At the same time, it is regrettable that the Security Council does not always find a common denominator on the Syrian issue. For example, the biased position held by a number of its Western members prevented it from reaching a consensus on a Russia-proposed draft press statement denouncing the bloody terrorist attack in Damascus on March 11, which claimed 70 lives, according to the latest reports. Implementing their well-known political directives, they attempted to unjustifiably modify the thrust of the document by including provisions reading as accusations of the Syrian authorities and justification of the terrorists’ actions. In consequence, we had to withdraw the draft. Moreover, during the debate on the text, our Western colleagues made it clear that they had a “different [operating] standard” with regard to Syria, which did not imply an unqualified denunciation of terrorism. The consequences of this approach may prove most unfortunate. At the same time, we believe it is crucial that the crime in Damascus was resolutely condemned by the UN Secretary-General.