Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin says his country will strongly oppose any attempt to give Syria's UN seat to opposition forces. “We will oppose it very strongly, but ... I don't think it is going to happen," Churkin said on Thursday.
“They (UN states) value this institution, they understand that if something of the sort were to happen, that would really undercut the standing of the United Nations,” he added.This comes after Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib said earlier that “We demand ... the seat of Syria at the United Nations and at other international organizations.” Churkin also denounced a move by the Arab League (AL) to hand Syria’s seat to opposition forces, saying that the AL is now playing a ‘negative role’ in the Syrian conflict. The Russian ambassador added that the Arab League decision damaged its standing and undermined the efforts of UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. On Tuesday, Syria’s opposition bloc, known as the National Coalition, took Syria’s seat during the Arab League annual summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha. The League also authorized its members to send all the means of what it called self-defense, including weapons, to militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also criticized the League’s decision, saying that “In terms of international law, the league's decision on Syria is illegal and indefensible.” Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals. Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes. MAM/HN