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On Syria, Russia's Churkin Vows to Veto Any Chapter 7 Text, Citing Iraq

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 16 -- As Ambassador filed into the Security Council Monday to discuss Syria and the impending expiration of the UN Mission's mandate there, French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud stopped and told the press, "Chapter Seven will stay in the text."

  This is a draft provision which would impose sanctions on the Syrian government if it did not comply in ten days.

  Minutes later, Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin came out of the Security Council and told the Press that he was leaving his Deputy Pankin in the meeting, since the UK Ambassador insisted they would talk about the draft with Chapter Seven still in it. We will not accept Chapter 7, he said, "it is absolutely unacceptable to us."

  Churkin added, "I made it very clear we are going to vote against this resolution."

  Inner City Press asked Churkin if Russia would call a vote on its draft, which would extend the UNSMIS mission but under the softer Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, with no sanctions. Churkin said he didn't want to set of a competition of voting: "we don't want to engage in some kind of diplomatic competition in the Security Council, this is a serious matter."

Churkin said if a vote is called on a draft with Chapter 7 in it, Russia "will not be the only one" to vote against it.

Inner City Press asked Churkin if Russia now thought that the letters from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan about the killings at Tremseh were accurate. No, he said, new information has emerged.

He went on to say that is why a UN Mission in Syria could be useful, to verify facts and even deter some abuses. He hearkened back to Iraq, when the Security Council did not permit an armed invasion but "they" went ahead and did it anyway. It will be on them, Churkin said, adding "this is seen by some as a stepping stone to foreign military intervention... this is not in line with the Geneva document [which has] no reference to Chapter Seven."

  Inner City Press asked Churkin if Kofi Annan while in Moscow asked Russia to support Chapter 7 in a resolution. No, Churkin said, he's never heard Annan ask for Chapter 7.

As Churkin spoke, a cluster of spokesman of Western members of the Security Council gathered. Previously, Churkin has asked one of these country's spokesman, "Which delegation are you with, young man?" Now, none of them spoke. But they took notes. And they all went back into the Security Council consultations room.

 Inner City Press asked another non-Western Council member if he thought a Chapter 6 extension of UNSMIS mandate was possible. It depends, he said, on if "they" -- seeming to mean the US -- want to escalate now or after November. He asked Inner City Press to find out. Watch this site.

Update of 3:47 pm -- while Churkin after his statement to the Press went back into the Security Council suite, another Council member has confirmed to Inner City Press that Churkin is "not in the room" for consultations.

Update of 4:21 pm -- a source who was inside the consultations tells Inner City Press that Churkin didn't only say these things to the Press outside the Council - he said them IN consultations.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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