West to blame for Syria UN resolution failure - Xinhua

SHANGHAI, July 20 Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:37am EDT

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SHANGHAI, July 20 (Reuters) - Western diplomats are to blame for the failure of the latest U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria after they tried to ram through an imbalanced draft that did not put enough pressure on opposition groups, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

Russia and China voted down the Security Council resolution on Thursday, the third time the two countries have used their veto power to block resolutions designed to isolate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and end the 16-month conflict that has killed thousands.

The draft threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions unless they halt violence against an uprising, and the dual veto drew immediate criticism from the United States, Britain and France, which all backed the resolution.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who visited Beijing earlier this week and discussed the issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the Security Council vote on Thursday.

In a commentary, Xinhua said the draft was not balanced, and that Western diplomats "displayed arrogance and inflexibility" in negotiations, effectively killing the draft.

"Western diplomats rushed to point fingers at Russia and China after the resolution was defeated, but they have only themselves to blame for trying to force such an ill-considered draft through the Council," it said.

While such commentaries do not necessarily constitute official statements, they may be read as a reflection of Chinese government thinking on important issues.

The resolution draft did not exert "enough pressure on the increasingly violent opposition groups", Xinhua said.

Western support of the resolution sent a message "that politicians in London and Washington are only interested in tying the hands of Damascus, while the violent operations of the anti-government forces would be tolerated and even encouraged", it said.

Instead of taking what Xinhua called a confrontational approach, Western powers should work with Russia and China to support the peace-making efforts of U.N.-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan.

"The mandate of the U.N Supervision Mission in Syria, which expires on Friday, should be renewed as soon as possible to give peace efforts another chance," it said.

"Council members should also enhance coordination and display flexibility so as to convey a unified message to all concerned parties in Syria. Only through this way can the Council find an effective resolution to the crisis and secure its own credibility."

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