Abstain and Then Regret

It was a shame that the two balancing powers in the UN Security Council—Russia and China—stood abstain in the vote to the Resolution 1973 against Libya on 17 March . And yet, another two BRIC members—Brazil and India—took the same stance. The four world’s emerging economies in the UNSC at the same period 2010-2012—China and Russia are permanent members; India and Brazil are non-permanent members—did not use their voices optimally to keep a peaceful world. China and Russia could have vetoed the resolution. It’s a big question why they did not play their part like they always did on issues regarding military intervention against any country.

The reasons of the abstentions are generally the concerns over consequences to the civilians if a military action is taken. They doubted military intervention would resolve the problem as quoted from the UNSC minutes.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said he had abstained, although his country’s position opposing violence against civilians in Libya was clear… His country, in fact, had pressed earlier for a resolution calling for such a ceasefire, which could have saved many additional lives. Cautioning against unpredicted consequences, he stressed that there was a need to avoid further destabilisation in the region.

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong said that the continuing deterioration of the situation in Libya was of great concern to China. However, the United Nations Charter must be respected and the current crisis must be ended through peaceful means. China was always against the use of force when those means were not exhausted.

Brazilian Ambassador to the UN Maria Luiza Riberio Viotti said not convinced that the use of force … will lead to the realisation of our common objective—the immediate end of violence and the protection of civilians. She added that Brazil was also concerned that the measures approved today might have the unintended effect of exacerbating the current tensions on the ground and “causing more harm than good to the very same civilians we are committed to protecting”. No military action alone would succeed in ending the conflict.

Indian Ambassador to the UN Manjeev Singh Puri said today’s resolution was based on very little clear information, including a lack of certainty regarding who was going to enforce the measures. There must be certainty that negative outcomes were not likely before such wide-ranging measures were adopted. Political efforts must be the priority in resolving the situation.

In the end they regret that the execution of no-fly zone has gone too wild. The Arab League, who proposed the use of Resolution 1973, even expressed deep regret.

@jakpost Russia: Stop ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of Libya http://bit.ly/gFvEm7

@Reuters Arab League says air strikes on Libya differ from the no-fly zone which was called for; aim was to protect civilians not bombard them

@jakpost China expresses regret over allied strike on #Libya http://bit.ly/fmIW5T

@FRANCE24 Arab League chief slams air strikes despite support for Libyan no-fly zone http://f24.my/ho42Bt

@jakpost China paper blasts Western air attacks in Libya http://bit.ly/fP2OZx

@BBCNews India, which abstained at the #UN Security Council vote, calls for end to #Libya air strikes, from AFP

@BBCNews Russian Prime Minister Vladimir #Putin says UN resolution on #Libya resembles Medieval calls for crusades

@Reuters Putin says Gaddafi regime does not meet democratic criteria, but that does not justify military intervention

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7 responses to “Abstain and Then Regret

  • Ramadan

    Surely by vetoing a resolution which aims to stop a mad man brutally killing and maming his own, innocent, people they would be doing more to harm world peace than by allowing it to pass?

    Yet again another unintuitive blog post which reeks of a lack of understanding and compassion for those who, like myself, have family in Libya. Open your eyes.

  • Linan Wang

    i’m ashamed of the position china takes on this issue. it’s crystal clear from our own history that ANY foreign intervention, no matter how nobel the original motivation was, leads only to disaster. plus there has never been any nobel motivation at all in human history. the non-fly zone is a disgusting trick Fr/US/UK played. and people in the west are so arrogant that they believe they know what is the best for a country they’ve never been.

  • Mark

    Yes of course Russia and China’s views should be respected. They are of course beacons of democracy and free democratic choice……….NOT!
    China buys Gaddafi’s oil and Russia sells him 99% of his weapons. Their motives should be considered suspect in all cases.

    It’s ironic that armchair diplomats writing blogs like this are free to sit in those armchairs and pontificate about how things get done in the rest of the world. Yet, in the parts of the world they pontificate about, ordinary people don’t have the luxury of those freedoms and choices that you would deny them.
    If you wrote a blog like this about the Chinese government you would already be in jail for “re-education”
    In Russia, they don’t even bother with that now – you will just have a gory accident or be beaten to death like so many independent Journalists have been.

    Would you have also stood by like the Dutch peacekeepers in Srebenica while the Bosnian Serb Militia and Serb army marched 7,000 men and boys out and shot them in the fields right in front of you?

    It should be the inalienable right off all people to choose their own leaders. If that choice is made freely then no further action required. If the leader attacks his own people to save his skin then the international community has to remove him.
    Free electoral choice for a multi-party democracy, a free press, freedom of expression, freedom to protest should be the price of admission for the UN. All others should be expelled or put on notice.

  • Basem

    I am a Libyan and have family in Tripoli as well as friends in Benghazi. These airstrikes could not have come any sooner. They truly prevented a massacre that Ghaddafi was going to commit in Benghazi while you “exhaust” diplomatic actions. So how would allowing such a massacre be “maintaining a peaceful world”?
    These airstrikes have the support of the majority of the Libyan people. Accounts of civilians dying are exaggerated by a murderous regime to sway international opinion. Their media did not report on any of the atrocities commited by Gaddafi forces, they even denied that any anti-Gaddafi protests ever happened!!
    To those doubters, these airstrikes were definitely the right thing to do.

  • Philip Atkinson

    The Arab League are toothless and ultimately restricted by their own hypocrisy. Putin is only interested by his image at home and is not worthy of being considered a world leader. China is not a democracy and it’s intentions are unclear but security of supplies for it’s growing economy has motivated it’s international policy elsewhere. What else can we do, people are being killed by Gaddafi, Libyans do not enjoy the freedoms we do and a popular revolt is being brutally quashed. I don’t think any of the countries involved in the enforcement of the UN directive really wish to be involved, there is little for them to gain other than the protection of people against a cruel regime.

  • adytorial

    Ok. It might be true that China is after Libya’s oil. But give me a break… Show me any country involved in the airstrike that has no interest in Libya’s oil. The difference is who prioritises military action and who does not to secure their interest. As much as we should suspect China and Russia over their motives, we should pay the same amount of attention on the hidden agenda of those in the mainstream.

    The biggest shame is that in such a modern world we live in, military interventions against a fully sovereign state can be legitimated. Yet, these actions take place on double-standard basis. They come immediately in some parts of the world but they are absent in another part of the world. They are very vocal condemning dictatorship of some regimes but, at the same time, idle about atrocities taking place in their inner circle.

    If a military force on behalf of the so called international community could be used to remove a regime, could it be used to wipe a state, that has attacked and annexed other states’ territories, from the map? I don’t think so.

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