UK & World News
Britain To Table UN Resolution On Syria
Sky News has learned that Britain will table a United Nations resolution calling for tougher sanctions against Syria, despite the risk of a Russian veto which will add to the already hostile relationship between Russia and the West over the crisis.
Chapter 7 resolutions carry legal weight and can be backed up by military force.
However, Sky News sources at the UN in New York say the text of the resolution includes a paragraph referring to Article 41 of the Chapter which specifically rules out military action. The wording is designed to allay Russian fears that voting for it would lead to a military intervention as seen in Libya last year.
The Resolution, which may be tabled as early as Wednesday, will call for much tougher sanctions against Syria, and for the Kofi Annan peace plan to be implemented by all sides. It could open the way to punitive economic measures being taken against Syria.
If the Russians still veto the resolution, despite the inclusion of Article 41, diplomats in Western capitals believe they will have demonstrated that the Russians are being deliberately obstructive and standing in the way of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
However, if the Russians vote for the resolution they believe it will be a significant step forward. In part this proposed resolution is hard diplomacy, in part it is a public relations exercise.
France, the UK, and the US know that although public opinion is against military intervention, there is a feeling that not enough is being done to save lives. The governments of those countries are making a public statement that they are trying as hard as they can.
The Russians take a different view and say that the West, and some Arab countries, are making the situation worse in Syria.
On Monday, Moscow accused the West of blackmail. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western diplomats were threatening that if Russia did not vote for a Chapter 7 resolution, they (the West) would not extend the mandate of the UN monitors in Syria, effectively collapsing the Kofi Annan plan.
Western diplomats deny this saying there is no link between the resolution and the mandate.
The inclusion of Article 41 appears to be a way to persuade the Russians that they can vote for a Chapter 7 resolution which up until now, on the Syrian crisis, has been a red line for Moscow.
However, there is still language in Article 41 which suggests that the Russians may still use their veto, as despite ruling out using military means to enforce the resolution, it does still allow punitive measures to be taken: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions ? These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication."