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Security Council divisions pose ‘challenge’ for UN

September 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

The spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has admitted that the political divisions in the Security Council have hurt UN’s capabilities to put an end to the Syrian civil war.

The structure of the 15-member Council is facing criticism for the overriding influence of the permanent members, whose national interests regularly trump action in humanitarian crises.

“Every time there is a veto on any issue, I think it is a challenge for the United Nations because it underscores a lack of unity within the Security Council,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in an interview with Anadolu news agency.

“On the political front, on many of the peace and security issues we deal with – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – we need the unity of the Security Council. We need them to speak with one voice. Because that sends a very strong message to the parties on the ground,” he added.

Dujarric acknowledged that there have recently been some discussions within the Council on a proposal not to block resolutions when action is required to halt mass atrocities.

“We hope they find those discussions fruitful and that they find a way to move forward. Obviously the veto needs to be used with a great amount of responsibility,” he said.

The French proposal to not block resolutions gained traction after Russia and China vetoed a resolution last year that would have referred the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court.

Last week, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin dismissed the proposal as “populist” and said Russia would oppose it.

Dujarric said allowing the Syrian civil war to continue for another year was a great failure of the international community.

Although UN chief Ban Ki-Moon and other UN agencies did a strong job on the humanitarian field, this was just a “band aid”, he said.

“That’s not the solution. The solution is ensuring that all those within Syria and all the countries that have an influence over those parties in Syria all agree and sit around the table and come up with a political solution… the secretary-general cannot do it alone. He needs the full backing of the Security Council. Over the last four years of the conflict in Syria, we have seen a division, a political division in the Security Council.”

The Syrian civil war has resulted in the deaths of at least 250,000 victims and made the country the world’s single largest source of refugees and displaced people, according to the UN.

Four Security Council draft resolutions directly addressing the conflict have been blocked by Russia and China, which, along with Iran, have been the principle international allies of Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.

In August, Assad said he was confident his government would have the continued support of Moscow.