India on Thursday voted in the United Nations Security Council in favour of a draft resolution which tried to impose non-military sanctions against Syria, which was defeated by a double veto by permanent members Russia and China.
The UNSC draft resolution pushed by the western countries in New York had sought to extend the mandate of the UN supervision mission on Syria which was overseeing the implementation of former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s six-point plan. But, the resolution also spoke of sanctions under Chapter 7, though it specifically rules out military intervention.
India, along with 11 UNSC members, voted in favour of the resolution. While Russia and China cast negative votes, Pakistan and South Africa abstained.
Russia, along with China, had objection on the Chapter 7 sanctions, which they claimed could lead to a military intervention. However, the draft resolution has a reference to Article 41 under Chapter 7 which allows punitive sanctions, not amounting to use of armed force.
In his explanation of India’s vote, permanent representative to UN Hardeep Puri said that the Indian positive vote was in “favour of the resolution today to facilitate a united action by the Security Council in support of the Joint Special Envoy”. Kofi Annan is the joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League.
He said that council members could have shown “flexibility so that a united message could be conveyed to all sides to the Syrian crisis instead of pursuance of domestic interests.”
Puri also lamented that “all have failed to comply with their obligations under the six-point plan.”
“Instead of a political process, parties have continued to pursue a military approach that continues to cause death and destruction in the country. There is an urgent need for the Syrian parties to recommit themselves to the complete cessation of violence and comprehensive implementation of the six-point plan,” he asserted.
The six-point plan called for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief, release of detainees, start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access for the international media.
This is the third time that Russia and China have together used the veto in a resolution on Syria in the UNSC.
The first was in October 2011 and then again in February this year.