USA rip into Russia at UN emergency meeting after Russian-backed offensive on Syria

Newstalk ZB staff ,
Publish Date
Mon, 26 Sep 2016, 8:48AM
The United States permanent representative to the UN Samantha Power (Getty Images)

USA rip into Russia at UN emergency meeting after Russian-backed offensive on Syria

Newstalk ZB staff ,
Publish Date
Mon, 26 Sep 2016, 8:48AM

UPDATED 10.59am The US has ripped into Russia at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council where New Zealand's at the helm.

LISTEN ABOVE: Rutgers University political science lecturer Abdelhamid Siyam spoke to Rachel Smalley

The session's been called to discuss attacks in Aleppo in Syria, after requests from the United States, Britain and France.

Dozens of people are reported dead after a new offensive, by the Russian-backed army, started late last week.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said it's not the time for the Security Council to sit back.

"And while members of this council, certainly including the United States, have a deep interest in having constructive ties with the Russian Federation, history will not look kindly on those who stay silent in the face of this carnage."

She said the Security Council needs to say out loud where the killing is coming from.

"Russia holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. This is a privilege and it is a responsibility. Yet in Syria and Aleppo, Russia is abusing this historic privilege.

"Russia would have this council live in upside down land, where bombing first responders cutting off humanitarian aid and supporting a murderous regime is billed as counter-terrorism."

The UN's Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, condemned developments at the start of the emergency meeting.

"The past week has been one of the worst ones in Syria during the near six years of this devastating conflict."

Ban ki-Moon has appealed to world leaders to end the nightmare in Syria.

But despite the emergency session of the Security Council, CNN's Richard Roth reports little seems to have been achieved.

"Human rights watch wants an immediate arms embargo on Syria, which is easier said than done. France wants war crime investigations but Russia could block that."

A United Nations expert says there needs to be a whole package to find a solution in Syria.

Rutgers University political science lecturer Abdelhamid Siyam told Rachel Smalley the package needs to start with re-declaring a truce and implementing that.

"Secondly, the flow of humanitarian assistance should immediately ensue and countries should go back to the negotiation table."

Siyam said without these three conditions, the crisis will continue to see bloody chapters.

He said there was a little hope last week that the truce negotiated by the Russians and Americans could be rescued - and it wasn't.

"United States, UK and France are trying to point [the] finger and be blunt to show who is responsible for killing the civilians, as we speak."

He said they're also highlighting the failure of the Security Council which led to these atrocities that are being committed day-in and day-out.

Benny Avni from the New York Post told Larry Williams no one expects anything to come out of the meeting.

He said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad doesn't believe in diplomacy and neither do the Russians, unless it goes exactly how they want.

"So if you have only one side interested in diplomacy, and only diplomacy, without any inkling about what they are going to do militarily if diplomacy fails, then diplomacy is bound to fail.

"I can't see anything optimistic coming out. I think the blood letting will continue because neither of the sides actually believe in what the west and the UN is professing," Avni said.