Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Time for Russia to be a leader

12th June 2012

A senior Conservative MEP today called on Russia to show true leadership and lift its Security Council veto blocking United Nations action to counter the bloodshed in Syria.

London MEP Charles Tannock, Conservative spokesman on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, said Russia must use its "unique leverage" to bring about change - and the West should keep all its options open, including limited military intervention:

Mr Tannock told a debate in Strasbourg: "The European Conservative and Reformists Group utterly condemns the barbaric atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians, including and women and children, by the Al-Assad regime in Syria. Damascus has turned its paramilitary thugs against its own citizens.

"The so called 'shabiha' are beyond control and are increasingly acting with impunity. Their atrocities have repulsed the international community and are reminiscent of the unspeakable atrocities of the Balkans twenty years ago.

"It is clear that the Annan peace plan has failed. Russia must use its unique leverage to effect change and urgently reverse its Security Council veto, thus unblocking the path for robust international action on Syria to prevent further bloodshed and pave the way for a democratic regime change with Assad gone.

"Russia must be aware its credibility in the Arab world is at stake. China will follow the Russian lead.

"All options by the west, including an arms embargo and even limited military intervention to protect civilian atrocities, must remain on the table to avert further descent into an all out sectarian civil war, or Rwanda or Srebrenica style genocide.

"We should additionally consider proposing a Resolution at the UNSC of indicting Al-Assad at the ICC.

"Turkey is a key player and ultimately is a democracy with the military might to intervene at its borders to impose a humanitarian safe corridor if necessary."