U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today said the United States is outraged that the Secretary Council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security.
At a Security Council Adoption on the Situation in the Middle East (Syria), Ms. Rice reported that several members have sought for weeks to weaken and strip bare any text that would have defended the lives of innocent civilians from Asad’s brutality.
“Today, two members have vetoed a vastly watered-down text that doesn’t even mention sanctions. Let me be clear: the United States believes it is past time that this Council assume its responsibilities and impose tough, targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the Asad regime, as we have done domestically.” -Ms. Rice
She highlighted that the courageous people of Syria can now clearly see who on this Council supports their yearning for liberty and universal human rights-and who does not.
“And during this season of change, the people of the Middle East can now see clearly which nations have chosen to ignore their calls for democracy and instead prop up desperate, cruel dictators. Those who oppose this resolution and give cover to a brutal regime will have to answer to the Syrian people-and, indeed, to people across the region who are pursuing the same universal aspirations.” -Ms. Rice
According to Ms. Rice, the record is clear. For more than six months, the Asad regime has deliberately unleashed violence, torture, and persecution against peaceful protesters, human rights defenders, and their families.
She noted that the High Commissioner for Human Rights has already warned that the Syrian government’s appalling actions might amount to crimes against humanity. The Asad regime’s crimes have won a chorus of condemnation from the region, including the Gulf Cooperation Council, which demanded an immediate end to what it called Asad’s “killing machine.”
“But this Council has not yet passed even a hortatory resolution to counter the Asad regime’s brutal oppression.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice stressed that the arguments against strong Council action grow weaker and weaker by the day. She said some on this Council argue that the Asad regime’s abuses are not that egregious, or that the regime deserves more time for its so-called reforms.
“But as the UN’s own reporting makes clear, the Syrian government’s efforts to mask its continued atrocities are as transparent as its promises of reform are empty. Others claim that strong Security Council action on Syria would merely be a pretext for military intervention.” -Ms. Rice
She emphasized that in failing to adopt the draft resolution before us, the Council has squandered an opportunity to shoulder its responsibilities to the Syrian people.
“We deeply regret that some members of the Council have prevented us from taking a principled stand against the Syrian regime’s brutal oppression of its people. But the suffering citizens of Syria are watching today, and so is the entire Middle East. The crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council, and we will not rest until this Council rises to meet its responsibilities.” -Ms. Rice