What's In Blue

Posted Thu 25 Aug 2011

Syria Sanctions Resolution

Council members are expected to discuss a draft resolution on Syria circulated by the UK on Tuesday (23 August) at both expert and permanent representative level. However, it is still unclear if Russia will attend. It had earlier indicated it needed instructions from Moscow before it could begin negotiations.

The draft sanctions resolution, which is supported by the European members of the Council and the US, calls for the freezing of assets of President Bashar al-Asad and 22 key Syrian figures plus four entities as well as a travel ban on 22 individuals. It also includes an arms embargo, sets up a new sanctions committee and requests the Secretary-General to create a panel of experts to support the work of the new sanctions committee.

The resolution notes the Human Rights Council’s recommendation that the Security Council consider referring the situation in Syria to the ICC and welcomes its decision to send an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011.

It seems that Russia feels that sanctions are not the right approach at the moment and that instead dialogue should be pursued. This appears to be a view shared by China which has stressed that Syria needs to decide its own future. South Africa and India also seem to have some concerns. India abstained and China and Russia voted against the Human Rights Council resolution on Monday calling for a commission of inquiry into the violence by the Syrian government.

It seems that some Council members are inclined to put the resolution to a vote if there is a clear majority, risking possible vetoes from China and Russia. (For the resolution to pass a majority of nine members or more voting for, with no veto is required.)

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