Russia and China have for the third time vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria which would entail tragic consequences for Damascus. Russia’s ambassador to the UN told RT why a diplomatic solution to the crisis remains the only option.
In an exclusive interview with RT, Vitaly Churkin gave his explanation of what is going on in Syria and why he thinks the conflict has spread beyond that country’s borders.
RT: Russia’s decision to veto this latest resolution has caused consternation and widespread criticism of Moscow’s stance – is Russia supporting the Assad regime?
Vitaly Churkin: Of course not. It is all about what needs to be done in order to settle the crisis. Unfortunately, the strategy of our Western colleagues seems to be to try to whip up tensions in and around Syria at every opportunity. And this time they took the occasion of the need to extend the mandate of the monitoring mission in Syria and attached a number of unacceptable clauses to their draft resolution. So, we needed to veto together with China that unacceptable draft to allow Kofi Annan more space to work on the document which was adopted by foreign ministers of a number of countries of the so-called “action group”, which calls for setting up transitional national body and that requires of course the dialogue between various parties. So, in this context, to introduce a resolution which would only entail pressure and almost inevitable sanctions on the Syrian government did not look like a good idea to us at all and we blocked the decision, which in our view was counter-productive. Continue reading
Barack Obama (L), surrounded by US Secret Service agents (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
Eleven Secret Service agents have been relieved from their duties in light of claims they spent time set aside for planning President Obama’s visit drinking and visiting prostitutes.
They were on location in Cartagena, Colombia, preparing for Obama’s arrival and participation in the Summit of the Americas. But instead, they engaged in activities that caused a scandal that could possibly overshadow the summit itself.
US Secret Service Assistant Director Paul Morrissey noted that allegations of misconduct were made against 11 Secret Service members, including both special agents and Uniformed Division officers. However, he did not specify exactly what kind of misconduct it was.
“The nature of the allegations, coupled with a zero tolerance policy on personal misconduct, resulted in the Secret Service taking the decisive action to relieve these individuals of their assignment, return them to their place of duty and replace them with additional Secret Service personnel,” Morrissey said in a statement. Continue reading
Allies discuss end of bombing operation amid concerns over cost and vagueness of aims after ousting of Muammar Gaddafi
by Julian Borger in Brussels
Nato defence ministers are to debate on Thursday when to declare an end to the air war in Libya amid concerns over the mounting cost of the campaign and the vagueness of the alliance’s war aims.
The Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on Wednesday that the end of the war would not be determined by the fate of the fugitive former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“The key will be the protection of the civilian population, so when no threat exists against the civilian population then the time will have come to terminate our operation,” Rasmussen said at the start of the two-day meeting in Brussels, which will include Arab states involved in the campaign.