by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Founder & Publisher, Political Strategist, and Strategy/Peace Negotiator with the UN Security Council Special Envoy to the Arab Nations
July 20, 2012 (TSR) – In its 6810th meeting, the UN Security Council again considered the situation in Syria, and in particular the draft resolution S/2012/538, sponsored by France, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
We present the world with full video coverage of this meeting to educate and put everything into context since mainstream media do not present the big picture. You will find this 1 hr 47 minute 11 second video as very informative in knowing the arguments presented. We highly recommend paying attention to Russia, China, Syria, Pakistan and South Africa deliberations, compared to what you hear and see on many media outlets. The Syrian UN Ambassador’s speech was quite profound and heart-wrenching, but was cut off due to time constraints. He speaks last.
This is the third time in which Russia and China vetoed a Western-proposed UN Resolution. Their reasoning is simple: the proposals that have been presented thus far are biased, and only give accountability based on Assad government instead of both sides.
Here’s the significance: the fact that Russia and China vetoed this third time, Western powers are now beginning to realize that Russia and China will not budge under pressure. They are the REAL STRONG POWERS now. Those who are vocal, USA, UK and France, are all weak nations in many levels now who are behaving strong. It’s just false perception.
The draft resolution received 11 affirmative votes, two negative votes (Russia and China), and two abstentions (Pakistan and South Africa).
Because of the Russian and Chinese vetoes, the resolution was not adopted.
Those voting in favor of the resolution included the following countries:
Prior to the vote and behind closed doors, the Security Council has held informal consultations on an amended Russian-backed draft resolution on Syria.
The resolution is in competition with a Western-backed resolution submitted by Britain last week.
Western diplomats outside the council have called the Russian draft “inadequate” and said they remained “open” to negotiating with Russia on the British resolution.
Russia’s latest resolution strengthens some language from the draft submitted last week but does not call for sanctions, which Western diplomats have called a “red line” on which they will not back down.
Russia has pledged to veto any resolution which threatens sanctions.
The council has scheduled a vote for July 18 and has to pass a resolution before July 20, when the mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria expires. The U.S. has stated that it is opposed to an extension.
The vetoes have drawn reprimands of both countries from the other 13 members in the chamber, the most vocal of which is the United States. “The United States is disgusted,” the U.S. envoy, Susan Rice, said in accusatory tones rarely seen at the UN.
The U.S. envoy criticized China and Russia for ‘selling out the Syrian people.’ It is important to remember that the U.S. cast the single vote against the security council’s resolution on (and for) Israel multiple times. This time, China and Russia cast two vetoes. Yeltsin had a nice saying, ‘As long as Russia and China join hands, whatever the U.S. is up to is just masturbation.’
Russia has announced on Friday that it will block a British-backed draft resolution that will extend the UN observer mission in Syria for a “final” 30 days.
Moscow supports a Pakistani proposal that will extend the mission for 45 days with no conditions and the possibility of further renewals.
Russia had earlier said that it wants the UN mission extended for another three months.
China’s reasons for the veto:
“Seriously problematic” and “uneven in content”
Russia’s reason for the veto:
‘It’s all about Iran! Don’t be duped by US & UK, “the great humanitarians” – remember Iraq’
The UN Security Council draft resolution text:
The Security Council,
Recalling its Resolutions 2043 (2012) and 2042 (2012), and its Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012 and 5 April 2012,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter,
Reaffirming also its support to the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and his work, following General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/253 of 16 February 2012 and relevant resolutions of the League of Arab States, aimed at securing full implementation of his six-point plan in its entirety, as annexed to resolution 2042 (2012),
Condemning the Syrian authorities’ increasing use of heavy weapons, including indiscriminate shelling from tanks and helicopters, in population centres and failure to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons to their barracks contrary to paragraph 2 of resolution 2043 (2012),
Condemning the armed violence in all its forms, including by armed opposition groups, and expressing grave concern at the continued escalation of violence, and expressing its profound regret at the death of many thousands of people in Syria,
Condemning the continued widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed opposition groups, and recalling that those responsible shall be held accountable,
Condemning the series of bombings that have made the situation more complex and deadly, some of which are indicative of the presence of well-organised terrorist groups,
Deploring the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the failure to ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting contrary to point 3 of the Envoy’s six-point plan, reiterating its call for the Syrian parties to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in particular to civilian populations in need of evacuation, and calling upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance;
Condemning the continued detention of thousands of Syrians in networks of Government-run facilities and deploring that there is no freedom of assembly contrary to points 4 and 6 of the six-point plan, and recalling the urgency of intensifying the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, and reiterating the need for Syrians to enjoy the freedom to assemble, including to demonstrate peacefully and freedom of movement for journalists throughout the country, as part of the necessary conditions for a political transition,
Having considered the Secretary-General’s report on UNSMIS dated 6 July 2012, commending United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) personnel for their continued efforts in a dangerous and volatile environment, and deploring that, due to the failure of the parties to implement the six-point plan and to the level of violence, monitoring access restrictions and direct targeting, the Mission’s operational activities were rendered unworkable, and supporting the Secretary-General’s recommendation that a shift in Mission structure and focus should be considered,
Stressing that rapid progress on a political solution represents the best opportunity to resolve the situation in Syria peacefully, welcoming in this regard the Final Communiqué of the Envoy’s 30 June Action Group meeting, and noting that progress towards an atmosphere of safety and calm is key to enabling a credible transition,
Welcoming the Syrian Opposition Conference held under the auspices of the League of Arab States in Cairo on July 3, 2012, as part of the efforts of the League of Arab States to engage the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition, and encouraging greater cohesion among the opposition,
Noting the Secretary-General’s 6 July 2012 call on the Security Council to provide the necessary support and ensure sustained, united and effective pressure on all concerned to ensure compliance with its decisions and create conditions for the success of a political solution envisaged by the Action Group,
Determining that the situation in Syria constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Expresses grave concern at the escalation of violence, and the failure of the parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, to implement the Envoy’s six-point plan as annexed to resolution 2042 (2012), thus not permitting the creation of a political space that would allow for meaningful political dialogue, and calls upon all parties to recommit immediately and without waiting for the actions of others to a sustained cessation of violence in all its forms and implementation of the six-point plan;
2. Endorses in full the 30 June Action Group Final Communiqué and its underlying guidelines and principles (Annex);
Enabling Transition: Immediate implementation of the Envoy’s six-point plan
3. Demands the urgent, comprehensive, and immediate implementation of, all elements of the Envoy’s six-point proposal as annexed to resolution 2042 (2012) aimed at bringing an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations, securing humanitarian access and facilitating a Syrian-led political transition as outlined in the Annex, leading to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations, ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian authorities and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition;
4. Decides that the Syrian authorities shall implement visibly and verifiably their commitments in their entirety, as they agreed to do in the Preliminary Understanding and as stipulated in resolution 2042 (2012) and 2043(2012), to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, (c) complete pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres, and to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from population centres to their barracks or temporary deployment places to facilitate a sustained cessation of violence;
5. Demands that all parties in Syria, including the opposition, immediately cease all armed violence in all its forms, thereby creating an atmosphere conducive to a sustained cessation of violence and a Syrian-led political transition;
6. Expresses grave concern at the increasing numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the ongoing violence, and reiterates its appreciation of the significant efforts that have been made by the States bordering Syria to assist those who have fled across Syria’s borders as a consequence of the violence, and requesting UNHCR to provide assistance as requested by member states receiving these displaced persons,
7. Demands that all Syrian parties work with the Office of the Joint Special Envoy to implement rapidly the transition plan set forth in the Final Communiqué in a way that assures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm;
8. Recalls that all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, including acts of violence, must be held accountable;
9. Decides that the Syrian Government shall provide the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and individuals working on its behalf immediate entry and access to all areas of Syria, decides that the Syrian authorities shall cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry in the performance of its mandate;
10. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) for a period of 45 days, on the basis of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to reconfigure the Mission to increase support for dialogue with and between the parties, and enhance attention to the political track and rights’ issues across the six-point plan;
11. Requests the Secretary-General to retain the minimum military observer capacity and requisite civilian component necessary to promote forward steps on the six-point plan through facilitation of political dialogue and to conduct verification and fact-finding tasks;
12. Condemns all attacks against UNSMIS, reaffirms that perpetrators of attacks against UN personnel must be held to account, demands that the parties guarantee the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;
13. Demands that the Syrian authorities ensure the effective operation of UNSMIS by: facilitating the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities as required to fulfil its mandate; ensuring its full unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfil its mandate, underlining in this regard the need for the Syrian authorities and the United Nations to come rapidly to an agreement on appropriate air transportation assets for UNSMIS; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing it to freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with UNSMIS;
14. Decides that, if the Syrian authorities have not fully complied with paragraph 4 above within ten days, then it shall impose immediately measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter;
Reporting and Follow-Up
15. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation by all parties in Syria of this resolution within 10 days of its adoption and every 15 days thereafter;
16. Expresses its intention to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate;
17. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
Final Communiqué of the Action Group for Syria
1. On 30 June 2012, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States) and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy met at the United Nations Office at Geneva as the Action Group for Syria, chaired by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to Syria.
2. The members of the Action Group came together out of grave alarm at the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. They strongly condemn the continued and escalating killing, destruction and human rights abuses. They are deeply concerned at the failure to protect civilians, the intensification of the violence, the potential for even deeper conflict in the country and the regional dimensions of the problem. The unacceptable nature and magnitude of the crisis demands a common position and joint international action.
3. The members of the Action Group are committed to the sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They are determined to work urgently and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses, and to facilitate the launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future.
4. In order to secure these common objectives, the members of the Action Group (a) identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms; (b) agreed on principles and guidelines for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and (c) agreed on actions that they would take to implement the objectives in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process. They are convinced that this can encourage and support progress on the ground and will help to facilitate and support a Syrian-led transition.
Identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms
5. The parties must fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012). To that end:
(a) All parties must recommit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and to the implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others. The Government and armed opposition groups must cooperate with the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (UNSMIS), with a view to furthering the implementation of the plan in accordance with the Mission’s mandate;
(b) A cessation of armed violence must be sustained, with immediate, credible and visible actions by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to implement the other items of the six-point plan, including:
(i) Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities; the provision, without delay and through appropriate channels, of a list of all places in which such persons are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such locations; and the provision, through appropriate channels, of prompt responses to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
(ii) Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
(iii) Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully, as legally guaranteed;
(c) In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for the safety and security of UNSMIS and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects;
(d) In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full humanitarian access by humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave must be enabled to do so. All parties must fully adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the protection of civilians.
6. The members of the Action Group agreed on the principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition set out below.
7. Any political settlement must deliver to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic a transition that:
(a) Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in the Syrian Arab Republic;
(b) Establishes clear steps according to a firm timetable towards the realization of that perspective;
(c) Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all and of stability and calm;
(d) Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.
8. Perspective for the future. The aspirations of the people of the Syrian Arab Republic have been clearly expressed by the wide range of Syrians consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a State that:
(a) Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections. This also means that the commitment to multiparty democracy must be a lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections;
(b) Complies with international standards on human rights, the independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in Government and the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment. There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that these commitments are kept by those in authority;
(c) Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their rights will be respected.
9. Clear steps in the transition. The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic will end only when all sides are assured that there is a peaceful way towards a common future for all in the country. It is therefore essential that any settlement provide for clear and irreversible steps in the transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition include:
(a) The establishment of a transitional governing body that can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place, with the transitional governing body exercising full executive powers. It could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent;
(b) It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in the Syrian Arab Republic must be enabled to participate in a national dialogue process. That process must be not only inclusive but also meaningful. In other words, its key outcomes must be implemented;
(c) On that basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval;
(d) Upon establishment of the new constitutional order, it will be necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multiparty elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established;
(e) Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.
10. Safety, stability and calm. Any transition involves change. However, it is essential to ensure that the transition can be implemented in a way that ensures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
(a) Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with the transitional governing body to ensure the permanent cessation of violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the issue of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups;
(b) Effective steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and that immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need. It is also necessary to ensure that the release of the detained is completed rapidly;
(c) Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. Public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including the intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and professional standards and operate under a leadership that inspires public confidence, under the control of the transitional governing body;
(d) Commitment to accountability and national reconciliation. Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.
11. Rapid steps to come to a credible political agreement. It is for the people of the Syrian Arab Republic to come to a political agreement, but time is running out. It is clear that:
(a) The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be respected;
(b) The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in place;
(c) There must be an end to the bloodshed. All parties must recommit themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of armed violence in all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions to implement points 2 to 6 of the six-point plan;
(d) All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive in order to ensure that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the political settlement for the transition;
(e) The organized international community, including the members of the Action Group, stands ready to offer significant support for the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include an international assistance presence under a United Nations mandate if requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and rehabilitation.
12. Agreed actions that the members of the Group will take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process are as follows:
(a) Action Group members will engage as appropriate, and apply joint and sustained pressure on, the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to take the steps and measures outlined in paragraph 5 above;
(b) Action Group members are opposed to any further militarization of the conflict;
(c) Action Group members emphasize to the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic the importance of the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor, when requested by the Joint Special Envoy to do so, to work on the basis of the six point plan and the present communiqué;
(d) Action Group members urge the opposition to increase cohesion and to be in a position to ensure effective representative interlocutors to work on the basis of the six-point plan and the present communiqué;
(e) Action Group members will give full support to the Joint Special Envoy and his team as they immediately engage the Government and the opposition, and will consult widely with Syrian society, as well as other international actors, to further develop the way forward;
(f) Action Group members would welcome the further convening by the Joint Special Envoy of a meeting of the Action Group, should he deem it necessary to review the concrete progress taken on all points agreed in the present communiqué and to determine what further and additional steps and actions are needed from the Action Group to address the crisis. The Joint Special Envoy will also keep the United Nations and the League of Arab States informed.
AUTHOR: Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos
Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos is the Founder & Publisher of The Santos Republic. She is also political strategist and analyst, investment consultant and advisor, and the Strategy/Peace Negotiator with the UN Security Council Special Envoy to the Arab Nations involved in brokering peace in the Middle East since 2011. She is also the Principal of MJS Global Group whose core competency is strategy, image/media, branding, geopolitics, international trade and development, communications, intelligence and security, aerospace, technology, entertainment, wealth management, mining, energy, infrastructure, commodities (gold, diamonds, oil and gas, sugar, cement, edible oils, rice, et al), and capital markets. also serves as a Senior Consulting Advisor for DeMatteo Monness LLC, a specialized agency brokerage with equity trading operations in New York and Boston and a member firm of the NASD and clears trades through Goldman Sachs Execution; Clearing LLC. With a background in working for international political campaigns, she is also a public speaker and lecturer on politics and motivational topics. Lady MJ has appeared and been featured in international media outlets (radio, television, print and internet) in Europe and USA such as Fox Business News, NRK, CNBC, CBS and AOL News. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter (@mj_santos). You can read more about her here.