China and Russia on Saturday agreed to a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing 30 unarmed military observers to travel to Syria to monitor efforts to bring violence under control in Syria.
Both nations vetoed previous proposals to heavily involve the UN in Syria because, they said, the proposed actions had been one-sided, and primarily aimed at the Syrian government.
“The Russian Federation has consistently warned against external interference, while supporting a political process to end the violence, and today’s resolution was consistent with that effort, as it included requirements of both parties,” said Russian Federation representative Vitaly Churkin. “The text has become more balanced through long negotiations. The observer team, which would include one Russian member, must be deployed in strict accordance with the resolution.”
The Russians await “a detailed proposal from the Secretary-General for a more extensive mission, and it was essential that all Syrian parties quickly refrain from violence, abide fully with the six-point plan and begin a peaceful negotiating process,” Churkin said.
“The sovereignty, territorial integrity, choices and will of the Syrian people must be respected,” said China’s Li Baodong. “The conflict must be resolved in a peaceful manner.”
Nations throughout the world, he said, must “guard against words or deeds that might stand in the mission’s way.”
The United Kingdom, France and United States supported the resolution, but expressed regret that it took so long for the Security Council to action and appeared to be less positive the plan will work.
“We will judge the Syrian regime by its acts and nothing else,” said Gerard Araud of France. “De-escalation has only come after much repression, for which there must be criminal accountability. In all areas of the plan, the government must meet its commitments fully. An end to violence means an end to all torture, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and other human rights violations committed by the regime for more than 13 months.”
“A narrow window now exists to improve the situation on the ground,” said Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom. “The Syrian Government must now meet all its commitments under the six-point plan, and ensure that the monitoring group has full freedom to accomplish its mandate. Opposition groups must also cooperate and not give the Government any excuse to renew military action.”
The UN action comes “after more than a year of brutal violence by the Assad regime, after some 10,000 deaths, 45,000 people driven out of Syria and many more out of their homes, after the grotesque destruction of towns and neighborhoods,” said Susan Rice of the United States.
Free United Nations news alerts
Join me on Twitter