Ban, Annan disappointed at UNSC failure on Syria

United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon and international envoy Kofi Annan have expressed disappointment over the failure of the Security Council to adopt a resolution aimed at addressing the worsening crisis in Syria.

The 15-nation Council failed to adopt yesterday a draft resolution, which would have threatened President Bashar Al-Assad`s regime with sanctions, after permanent members Russia and China vetoed it.

The resolution, proposed by Britain, France, Germany and the United States, contained specific threat of sanctions if Syrian authorities did not stop using heavy weapons and withdraw troops from towns and cities within 10 days.

India was among the 11 countries that voted in favour of the resolution while Pakistan and South Africa abstained. This is the third time in nine months that veto-wielding Russia and China have blocked a resolution on Syria as they oppose imposing any sanctions on the Assad regime.

Ban said he "deeply regrets" that the Security Council was unable to agree on the resolution to address the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria.

The "vote is disappointing at a time when more resolve and pressure were needed to achieve the goals endorsed by the Security Council, of a full cessation of violence to protect civilians and of facilitating a Syrian-led political transition leading to a democratic political system," a statement issued by Ban`s spokesperson said here.

Noting that the "hour is grave," Ban said the international community has a collective responsibility to the Syrian people at a time when the Syrian government has "manifestly failed" to protect them.

"The Secretary-General, together with the Joint Special Envoy and the United Nations as a whole, will spare no efforts in the search to end the violence and human rights violations, and to bring a peaceful democratic Syrian-led transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," the statement said.

Ban added that the onus is on the Syrian government as well as on the other parties to put an end to the bloodshed and stop use of heavy weapons against population centres.

The Secretary-General reiterated his call to all sides to cease violence in all its forms, and move toward a peaceful, Syrian-led political transition. Annan too expressed disappointment that the Council could not unite "at this critical stage" and take strong and concerted action he had urged and hoped for. "The voice of the Council is much more powerful when its members act as one," he said in a statement.

The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against Assad began some 16 months ago.

The crisis in Syria has been worsening with each passing day, with Assad`s government also suffering heavy casualty after a suicide bomb attack at the National Security Headquarters in Damascus killed Syrian defense minister Daoud Rajha, deputy defense minister Asef Shawkat and Vice President Farouk Sharaa`s military adviser Hassan Turkmani.