• Russia opposes Syria humanitarian resolution


    UNITED NATIONS: Russia’s United Nations (UN) envoy said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) that Moscow opposes a UN Security Council Resolution demanding greater humanitarian access in Syria to those in urgent need of food and medical supplies.

    Since negotiations between Syria and world powers halted Friday without concrete results, Western nations and some Arab countries backing the Syrian opposition have drafted a text they hope to bring before the council this week, diplomats said.

    “It is too early,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters. “We believe it is not a good time to have any resolution discussed in the Security Council . . . My concern is if there is a resolution, it will be an effort to politicize.”

    He called for a “pragmatic approach” toward Damascus, Moscow’s ally.

    But Churkin declined to say whether Russia would apply its veto power to a possible humanitarian resolution on Syria, as it has done three times since the conflict broke out in March 2011.

    France, Britain, the United States and other Council members such as Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg have held meetings without Russia to discuss the text, which has yet to be completed.

    Three million Syrian civilians have been trapped by the violence tearing through the country, including more than 2,500 in the besieged city of Homs alone, according to the United Nations.

    Without minimizing the “quite horrific” situation in Homs, Churkin claimed that “it is not a large-scale kind of a siege of the kind we’ve had in the course of history.”

    Asked about much-delayed efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, Churkin praised Damascus for its efforts.

    “Things are moving along, the joint [United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] operation is functioning well,” he said.



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