THE US ambassador to the United Nations has pushed the UN Security Council to focus “all eyes and all pressure” on Russia to end the Syrian conflict.
Nikki Haley also pressed for council action even if it faces a veto by Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his country’s six-year-long civil war.
“They are the ones who could stop this if they wanted to,” Ms Haley said on Thursday of Russia. “We need to put pressure on Russia.”
Moscow has vetoed eight resolutions on Syria to shield Assad’s government from action, most recently blocking a council condemnation of a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people, many of whom were children. China has backed Russia and vetoed six resolutions.
“I will continue to press the Security Council to act, to do something, regardless of if the Russians continue to veto it because it is our voice that needs to be heard,” Ms Haley told a Security Council meeting on aid access in Syria.
“Russia continues to cover for the Syrian regime, Russia continues to allow them to keep humanitarian aid from the people that need it, Russia continues to cover for a leader who uses chemical weapons against his own people.”
Responding to Ms Haley’s remarks, Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev told the council that Russia, Iran and Turkey were working to ensure compliance with a cessation of hostilities to allow delivery of humanitarian aid.
“Neither you nor Western colleagues said a single word about what you are doing to improve the situation,” Mr Iliichev said.
It comes after Ms Haley held up horrific photos of the victims of the Syrian chemical attack at a meeting of the UN Security Council earlier this month.
She also accused Russia of blocking action and closing its eyes to the “barbarity” of three previous chemical attacks that investigators blamed on the Syrian government by vetoing a resolution in late February that would have imposed sanctions on those responsible.
“The truth is that Assad, Russia, and Iran have no interest in peace,” she said.
“The illegitimate Syrian government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities against his people for six years.”