US: Russia holding UN 'hostage' over Syria strike
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin welcomes US President Barack Obama at the start of the G20 summit on September 5, 2013 in Saint Petersburg. (AFP)
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The United States declared on Thursday that Russia is holding the U.N. Security Council on Syria hostage.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, lashed out at Russia, and left little doubt that Washington would not seek U.N. approval in response to the August 21 chemical weapons attack near Syria’s capital Damascus.
Power blames the structure of the Security Council, which lets five major nations hold veto power - Russia, the United States, China, France and Britain. Russia has consistently used its veto power to block action President Bashar Assad’s regime.
U.N. approval requires a unanimous vote to take action in Syria, considering recent events, this appears unlikely.
“I was present in the meeting where the UK laid down the resolution, and everything in that meeting, in word and in body language, suggests that that resolution has no prospect of being adopted, by Russia in particular,” Power told reporters.
“Our considered view, after months of efforts on chemical weapons and after 2-1/2 years of efforts on Geneva (peace talks), the humanitarian situation, is that there is no viable path forward in this Security Council,” she said.
Reactions by governments around the world have differed.
Britain’s parliament voted against British participation in planned U.S. military strikes to punish Syria's government for the chemical attack.
On the other hand, Russia, backed by China, has used its veto power three times to block council resolutions condemning Assad's government and threatening it with sanctions.
The United States has bypassed the United Nations in the past when the council was deadlocked, such as during the Kosovo war in 1999.