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U.N. resolution on Syria stalls due to Russian ‘intransigence’

The U.N. draft resolution submitted by Britain is being considered under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Security Council, which allows for military action. (Reuters)

A draft resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria stalled in the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday due to Russian “intransigence,” the United States said.

“We see no avenue forward, given continued Russian opposition to any meaningful Council action on Syria,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said as Western powers prepare for a military strike on Syria following last week use of chemical weapons in the war-torn country.

Harf strongly suggested that Washington would consider proceeding with whatever plans it was developing with its allies in response to actions by the Syrian regime.

“We cannot be held up in responding by Russia’s continued intransigence at the United Nations, and quite frankly the situation is so serious that it demands a response,” Harf said.

“Syria cannot hide behind Russian intransigence at the Security Council. It is unacceptable,” she added.
Earlier Wednesday Russia stressed it was premature to mull any reaction by the United Nations Security Council before the UN team inspecting the site of the alleged chemical attacks in Syria releases its findings.

“Discussing some sort of reaction by the Security Council before U.N. inspectors working in Syria publish their report is at the very least untimely,” first deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov told the Interfax news agency.

The U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria said Wednesday that international military action in the country cannot go ahead without approval by the U.N. Security Council.

"I think international law is clear on this. International law says that military action must be taken after a decision by the Security Council," Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva. 

Syrian response

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said Wednesday that Syria will turn into a "graveyard of the invaders" in case of foreign military intervention and accused the West of inventing pretexts to attack, AFP reported.

Syria will "surprise the aggressors as it surprised them in" the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when Arab forces caught Israel off guard, and become "the graveyard of the invaders," he said.

The "colonialist threats" of Western powers "do not terrorize us because of the will and determination of the Syrian people, who will not accept being humiliated," Halqi said, quoted on state television.

At the United Nations, Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari asked Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to extend the inspectors investigation to include government allegations that rebel groups have used chemical weapons against Syrian troops on three occasions this month.

Israel prepares

Israel ordered a small-scale mobilization of reservists on Wednesday and strengthened its missile defenses as precautions against possible Syrian attack should Western powers carry out threatened strikes on Syria, according to Reuters.

But an Israeli official briefed on a meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said Israel believed the probability of it be targeted by Syria, its northern neighbor and long-time foe, was low.

"Following a security assessment held today, there is no reason for a change to normal routines," Netanyahu said in a statement. "We are, in parallel, preparing for any scenario."

That included a limited call-up of military reserve soldiers and deployment of an advanced missile shield in the north, the official said. Israel Radio said mobilization of several hundred troops in intelligence and air defense had been authorized.

Army Radio reported the military was using all of its missile defenses, which include the short-range Iron Dome, the mid-range Patriot and the long-range Arrow II.

(With AFP and Reuters)
 

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Last Update: Thursday, 29 August 2013 KSA 23:21 - GMT 20:21
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