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Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said an embargo on arms supplies to Syria is out of the question — along with any resolution that could threaten to aggravate conflict in the country.

Churkin, speaking to journalists via video link, spoke out strongly against a possible arms embargo on Syria, citing some countries’ refusal to condemn the armed groups operating there, and the continued risk of weapons supplies reaching these groups despite any ban.

When most nations talk about sovereignty, they seem to think that “sovereignty is good for friends” while “compliance is good for enemies,” believes Benjamin Barber, a senior fellow at the American think-tank Demos.

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UN resolution drops demands for Assad’s resignation, arms embargo – reports

Diplomats at the United Nations Security Council have reportedly agreed to drop demands for an arms embargo against Syria and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. Russia had vocally opposed both points.

The latest revision removes a clause calling on Assad to immediately transfer power to a deputy in advance of elections for a new government.

However, the draft still “fully supports” the Arab League’s decision to “facilitate a political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system,” the Associated Press reports.

The Security Council could soon reach a consensus on a Syria resolution, current council president Kodjo Menan said on Thursday. Security Council members want “swift action” on the issue, Menan said, but added that there is no deadline for such a decision.

The news follows days of heated political debates in the UNSC, with many members supporting a Western-backed draft calling for foreign nations to put an end to what some called the “Syrian killing machine.”

Russia and China were the only permanent Security Council members opposing the draft, reminding others that it was not their place to intervene in the domestic affairs of another country.

Russia’s permanent envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin earlier said any proposals including an arms embargo or a demand for Assad’s resignation would be vetoed.

Diplomatic insiders say there are currently two draft resolutions on the table in the UNSC. The proposal put forth by Morocco, the only Arab state on the Security Council, is opposed by Russia and China over provisions for foreign intervention in what both Moscow and Beijing call a ‘domestic’ affair. The two states had previously vetoed a similar resolution, fearing its passage would cause a repeat of the Libyan scenario with another NATO military incursion.

In turn, some UNSC members said the Russian proposal was far too soft to have any effect on the conflict in Syria. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN stressed the hope for a consensus on the matter, but noted that it was still too early to talk about a vote.

RT.com – 3 February 2012

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