UNSC fails to pass resolution on Syria

Friday, July 20, 2012

Eleven of the Council's 15 members voted in favour of the resolution's text, while two others - Pakistan and South Africa - abstained.

A veto by any one of the Council's five permanent members means a resolution cannot be adopted.

Before the voting, South Africa had indicated that it would support any decision of the Security Council that was balanced and geared towards supporting Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan's call for all sides in the conflict to adhere to their commitments under his six point plan.

"The international community must urgently respond to the escalating violence in Syria in a stern and balanced manner, based on the realities on the ground," International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said.

The Deputy Minister is expected to address media in Pretoria this afternoon on South Africa's position on the matter.

Ahead of the vote, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, along with Annan, repeatedly expressed the hope that the Council would reach agreement on a course of collective action to end the bloodshed in the Middle Eastern country.

"I am deeply disappointed by the failure of the Security Council today over the situation in Syria," Ban told reporters in Slovenia, where he arrived to begin an official visit.

A separate statement issued by Ban's spokesperson said the vote was disappointing as it comes at a time when more resolve and pressure were needed to achieve the goals endorsed by the Council, of a full cessation of violence to protect civilians and of facilitating a Syrian-led political transition leading to a democratic political system.

"The hour is grave. The international community has a collective responsibility to the Syrian people. The Syrian Government has manifestly failed to protect them," it stated.

The statement added that the Secretary-General, together with the Joint Special Envoy and the UN as a whole, will spare no efforts in the search to end the violence and human rights violations, and to bring a peaceful democratic Syrian-led transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

Annan also expressed his disappointment that the Council could not unite and take the strong and concerted action he had urged and hoped for.

"He believes that the voice of the Council is much more powerful when its members act as one," his spokesperson said in a statement.

The UN estimates that more than 10 000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 16 months ago.

The Council is expected to make a decision today on the future of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria which recently suspended its regular patrols due to the escalating violence on the ground and whose 90-day mandate expires today.