What's In Blue

Posted Fri 3 Feb 2012

Syria Draft Resolution in Blue

Yesterday evening (2 February), following a second round of Council negotiations at the permanent representative level, the Moroccan draft resolution on Syria was put in blue (S/2012/77). (In general, a resolution is put in blue 24 hours before it is likely to be put to a vote. However, this does not mean that a vote has to take place or that there cannot be further negotiations.) At press time, a vote had not been called although some members appear to be looking at the possibility of a week-end or Monday vote.

Apparently Russia and China have asked for time to receive instructions from their capitals. If they come back with new instructions this afternoon it is possible that there may be further negotiations on the draft text although it has been put in blue.

It seems that some members would like the vote to take place before Tuesday’s (7 February) Arab League meeting in Qatar to discuss its monitoring mission to Syria—which was suspended on 28 January due to security concerns. (This meeting was originally scheduled for Sunday, 5 February.) Some members also see the Munich Security Conference today (3 February) as a good opportunity for bilaterals on Syria. (Both US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are attending.)

It appears that the one significant area of disagreement over the draft text continues to be how to reference the 22 January Arab League decision. The draft which has been put in blue continues to use “fully supports” in relation to the Arab League 22 January decision on political transition. However the details of the steps for transition of power have been removed.

It seems that some members wanted a clear expression that there would be no military intervention in Syria. The draft resolution put in blue strengthened language on the use of force as it now explicitly states that “nothing in this resolution authorises measures under Article 42 of the Charter”.

This draft contains a number of other changes from the 26 January version, including the timing for reporting and review of implementation of the resolution to 21 days from 15, and then every 30 days. The resolution also added language on Russia’s offer to help facilitate, in cooperation with the Arab League, political dialogue among the parties.

Among the elements removed are references to the transfer of weapons into Syria and encouraging states to adopt similar measures (i.e. bilateral sanctions) to those agreed to by the Arab League on 27 November. However, the possibility of considering future measures remains, although the reference to consulting with the Arab League has been removed.

It seems that if the divisions in the P5 over the issue of how support for the 22 January Arab League decision can be resolved, consensus on the draft should be possible. However, it is still unclear if the draft resolution will receive Russian support and if not, whether Russia would be willing to abstain rather than veto.

The list of co-sponsors on the draft put in blue include eight Council members (Morocco, Colombia, France, Germany, Portugal, Togo, United Kingdom, United States) and eleven from the region (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates).

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