Vote on a Syria Resolution
It seems that the Council may vote on a draft resolution on Syria tomorrow afternoon (4 October). Last week Council members had two sessions of negotiations at permanent representative level on the draft text. Following the second meeting on Thursday, 29 September, a revised draft was circulated to Council members on Friday. It appears that there have been some bilateral negotiations and phone calls between capitals since Friday in an attempt to address residual concerns by Russia, China, South Africa and India. It is likely, however, that the Friday version of the draft will be the text to be put in blue later today.
Apparently earlier references to accountability, including mention of the ICC in the preambular section, and a number of human rights references were removed last week. It appears the changes are in response to requests, in particular by Brazil, to strengthen language on resolving the crisis peacefully and through an inclusive Syrian-led political process. The draft appears to also call for all sides to refrain from violence and includes a request for the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy as well as explicitly encourages the Arab League’s role in promoting a resolution to the crisis.
While these amendments seem to have satisfied Brazil, it is likely that Russia and China, and possibly South Africa and India may still have concerns about including language on the intention to consider adopting targeted measures, even though the language has been modified and the immediate threat of sanctions removed.
It appears that while the draft continues to call for sustained follow-up by the Secretariat there was also some compromise made in terms of the time-frame, and the Secretary-General is now being asked to report on the implementation of the resolution within 30 days rather than 15. Similarly, it appears that the Council is now to review Syria’s implementation of the resolution within 30 days instead of 15.
Over the past six months Council members have placed a premium on unity on Syria especially with the perception that differences over Libya may have affected the Council’s ability to effectively address the Syrian situation. However, even though the drafters have tried to address the concerns raised by a number of other members, the vote may still result in abstentions and even possible vetoes. It appears that the supporters of the resolution feel that it is now important for the Council to send a signal to Damascus, even at the risk of a veto.