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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister: Too early to speak about voting on Syria

August 28, 2013, 22:14 UTC+3

The U.N. has the so-called rule of 24 hours

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THE HAGUE, August 28 (Itar-Tass) - The U.N. Charter gives Russia the right of veto but it is too early to speak about a vote on Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“This [right of veto] is our legitimate right under the U.N. Charter,” he told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, August 28, when asked to comment on the UK-authored draft resolution that essentially allows the use of force against Syria.

“The resolution, as our British partners promised, will be provided to other U.N. Security Council members today for a review. So it is premature to speak about voting at this point,” the diplomat said.

“The resolution was drafted by the British delegation and is being circulated among some other Security Council members. This is a standard practice when someone is drafting a resolution and then shares its content with other members of the Security Council. In this case, as far as I understand, we are talking about the five permanent members of the Security Council,” Gatilov said.

“It [the resolution] will be considered, its content will be reported to the capitals and then relevant measures will be taken. It’s a standard working practice,” he added.

Gatilov believes that this will “depend on the plans of those who are ‘sponsoring’ the promotion of the document. The U.N. has the so-called rule of 24 hours, which means that a resolution can be put to the vote 24 hours after submission to the Security Council.”

“At this point we can talk about the unofficial circulation of the text. So there is no countdown yet,” he added.

Western countries may, until the end of the day, submit to the Security Council a draft resolution that will give the green light to an armed operation in Syria. Russia and China, which have the right of veto in the Security Council, have spoken up strongly against the use of force.

However Western countries have made it clear that they might take measures without waiting for the U.N. Security Council’s decision as they did in 1999 in Kosovo.

Gatilov said this would be a gross violation of international law. “Certain states are ready to use force even before U.N. experts make public the results of their investigation. Our country will be committed to international law,” he said. “Modern international law allows the use of force only in exceptional cases: for self-defence and if so authorised by the U.N. Security Council. Some states see priorities in a distorted way.”

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