Washington — The U.S. delegation to the United Nations is working with the United Kingdom and other countries in the Security Council to advance a draft resolution on the mandate for the U.N. observer mission in Syria that endorses U.N. Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, as well as his call that there need to be “consequences for noncompliance.”
Speaking in New York July 11, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Susan Rice said the 16-month violent crackdown by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime “must stop and the process of transition to a post-Assad Syria must finally begin.”
On June 30, the five permanent members of the Security Council agreed to support Annan’s plan that would end the violence. The plan calls for the creation of a transitional governing body ahead of constitutional reform and free elections that could include members of the Syrian government and opposition groups and would be formed by mutual consent.
“We must now ensure the conditions are present for the plan to finally be implemented,” Rice said, amid continued violence in the country and the approaching end of the 90-day mandate for the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) on July 20. The 300-person team was forced to suspend its monitoring activities in mid-June because of escalating violence.
Reporting to the Security Council from Geneva on July 10, Annan urged the body to “send a message to all that there will be consequences for noncompliance” with his peace efforts. Rice said council members need to ensure that will indeed be the case as they debate the renewal of UNSMIS.
Rice said the United States had originally expressed skepticism over the ability of UNSMIS to successfully monitor U.N. peace efforts in Syria due to the Assad regime’s “brutality and its record of broken promises.” The regime’s “persistent refusal to take the basic steps to halt the violence” prevents the monitoring mission from fulfilling its mission, Rice said.
“Without this council taking concrete measures to increase the pressure for the Annan and Geneva plans to be implemented by the government, it's not plausible to assume that UNSMIS will be any more able to fulfill its mandate in the future than it is now,” Rice said.
As the Security Council considers renewing UNSMIS, it needs to tie it and Annan’s peace efforts to binding Chapter 7 enforcement mechanisms — “specifically, sanctions,” Rice said.
“We think that a simple rollover of UNSMIS without the council being clear that it is prepared to put the full political weight that we have behind these observers on the ground and behind implementation of the Annan plan is insufficient. It will not accomplish the goals that we all seek,” she said.