There was considerable optimism on Tuesday among Western states like the US — France — and the UK — which the stated Russian opposition to an anti-Assad resolution was softening. British Foreign Secretary William Hague was optimistic but cautious.
Now Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin seemed conciliatory in the statement he made in Council. He straightened that out here at the Security Council stakeout — however — when he said he’s still unhappy with the draft resolution as it stands.
Churkin has loudly voiced his concerns on the draft. They include the massive military strikes of the variety seen in Libya — as well as a regime change that he says the Council has no right to sanction.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clearly disagreed. Her stance on the Assad government is that it needs to go. She’s reportedly been trying to reach Sergei Lavrov — the Russian Foreign Minister — to lobby him for his support on the resolution — but he’s not returning her calls.
Russia and Syria have long been allies and business partners. Russia has previously used its veto power in less than a year ago when it squashed an anti-Syria resolution.