Remarks to the press: Ambassador Wittig on Syria
(Near verbatim transcript of remarks after a vote on the Syria draft resolution )
Ambassador Wittig: "This is indeed a sad day for the Security Council. For the third time Russia and China vetoed efforts to contain the crisis in Syria . That’s why this Council once again could not live up to its responsibility. We made it very clear: We wanted unity of the Council. We negotiated and presented our draft in a spirit of compromise. Unfortunately this was not reciprocated by those who yielded a veto today. Therefore we could not find unity.
At no time – let me make this clear – has Russia presented to the Council amendments to our resolution to address their concerns. I said it in the Council and I say it again - because we need clarity on this crucial point – nothing in this resolution set the stage for foreign military intervention. To say that, to claim that is simply distorting facts. There’s nothing about that in this resolution.
The resolution would have given teeth to the Annan plan, but it would have used threats of diplomatic and economic sanctions to ensure implementation of the Annan plan - and this is what we all subscribed to: to the principles of the Annan plan. So this was a lost opportunity for the Security Council, also for Russia and China , and above all for the Syrian people.
Let me also say this: The days of the Assad regime are numbered. Assad has no future in the new Syria . We feel with the suffering of the Syrian people, and Germany stands with all those who cherish freedom, a plural society and democracy. We call on all those within the circles of the Syrian regime, the army, the security forces: reconsider your options. One day there will be a new Syria , change will come to Syria . We are very certain about that."
[Q. on extension of UNSMIS]
Ambassador Wittig:" We don’t want to abandon the Syrians. We have a responsibility vis-à-vis Syria – that’s one aspect of that decision. On the other hand we can not put the observers in harms way – it is a very dangerous environment in which they’re operating. So we have to weigh those two aspects of this decision. But it makes sense to have a limited final extension of the mission and we will discuss this this afternoon."
[Q. on defections]
Ambassador Wittig:" The recent defections and the attacks against the heart of the Syrian security system yesterday are highly significant. They will erode the cohesiveness of the Syrian power apparatus. I don’t have a crystal ball on the future of the Syrian crisis, but surely there are very important developments unfolding."