Bloc led by China, Russia says no to Syria intervention
BEIJING, June 7 — Leaders of a bloc grouping China, Russia and Central Asian states today called for dialogue to address the violence in Syria, a likely indicator that little will change in discussions on the crisis at the United Nations.
“The Shanghai group member states are against military interference in the affairs of this region (Middle East and North Africa), enforced ‘handover of power’, unilateral sanctions,” a joint statement from leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation said.
“Member states stress the need to stop any violence on the territory of Syria wherever it is coming from, they respect broad nationwide dialogue, based on independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria.”
The statement means that there is likely to be little change in discussions at the UN Security Council on Syria, even after troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were accused by opponents of a new massacre of scores of villagers.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, is to brief the Security Council in New York today. UN diplomats said they expected Annan to present the Council with a new proposal to rescue his failing peace plan by creating a “contact group” of world and regional powers.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, urged international support for Annan’s peace plan, despite calls from Arab and Western states for a tougher response to the bloodshed.
Russia and China — permanent members of the UN Security Council with the power to veto resolutions — have stymied efforts by Western powers to condemn or call for the removal of Assad, whose forces, the UN says, have killed more than 9,000 people in 15 months of bloodshed.
The statement was issued on the last day of the two-day annual summit of the SCO, made up of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Pakistan and others attend the summits, but not as full members.
The six leaders also warned that “any attempts to solve the Iranian problem by force are not acceptable and lead to unpredictable consequences, threatening stability and security in the region and in the world as a whole”. — Reuters