UNITED NATIONS: 15/10/2011: – European members of the U.N. Security Council clashed with Russia and China yesterday by raising concerns about Syria and the looming spectre of civil war.
The French, British, German and Portuguese envoys supported a statement issued yesterday by U.N. human rights Chief Navi Pillay, who called for international protection of civilians in Syria and warned of a possible civil war.
Syrian forces shot dead at least six people protesting against President Bashar al-Assad yesterday, activists said, 10 days after Russia and China joined forces on a rare "double veto" to kill a European-drafted Security Council resolution that would have condemned Syria and hinted at possible future sanctions.
Yesterday’s European push on Syria elicited an angry response from Russian deputy U.N. envoy Alexander Pankin, who complained that French Ambassador Gerard Araud was flouting normal procedure by introducing issues "not on the agenda of the meeting."
The Chinese envoy told the council that since Pillay’s remarks on Syria had not been requested by the Security Council, it should not take them into consideration.
The council meeting followed the earlier adoption yesterday of two routine resolutions in public sessions.
Its official agenda was a monthly review by the U.N. Department of Public Affairs on world affairs and conflicts.
During the meeting, Araud told the council that "the advocates of inaction on Syria should draw conclusions from the latest appalling developments," according to the French U.N. mission’s Twitter page.
Araud was referring to Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, the five "BRICS" emerging markets nations that have resisted the Western push for tough council action on Syria since the government crackdown against pro-democracy protesters began over half a year ago.
Portuguese Ambassador Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, one of the co-sponsors of last week’s failed resolution, confirmed he had said the council should revisit the idea of condemning Damascus.
"The situation (in Syria) is deteriorating fast," Cabral said. "The council should come back to it."