The Russians and Chinese have vetoed a UN Security Council motion condemning Syria for the use of chemical weapons, their seventh and sixth vetoes on Syria since the current crisis began in 2011.
America led the chorus of frustration of other UN members unable to punish Damascus.
“Russia just doesn’t want to criticise the Assad regime for using chemical weapons. That’s the truth. So what message are we sending to the world? If you are alie with China and Russia they will cover the backs of their friends who use chemical weapons to kill their own people. Some say we should focus more on ISIS.. The US condemns any use of chemical weapons by ISIS or any other non-state actor,” said the new US ambassador Nikki Haley.
However the argument runs that punishing Assad will do no good, and might make things worse.
“I think it’s absolutely inappropriate now towards the Syrian government, using sanctions. Because it doesn’t help, it wouldn’t help the negotiation process but would only hinder it, and would undermine trust in the negotiation process. Russia won’t support any new sanctions against Syria,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura continues meetings that began last week with the Syrian government’s delegation, but getting any meetings going with the opposition appear far away with negotiations still mostly at the talks about talks stage.