Libya mission creep undermines R2P possibilities for Syria crisis

OTTAWA - The Green Party strongly supports the Conservative government’s condemnation of the Syrian regime’s continuing slaughter of civilian protesters. However, the Green Party also calls on Stephen Harper to recognize that his government is undermining the prospects for U.N. Security Council solidarity by participating in the transformation of a U.N. Responsibility To Protect (R2P) mandate in Libya into the current regime-change-by-bombardment NATO operation.
"Re-building trust with Russia and China over the application of R2P in Syria will at the minimum probably require an end to the NATO Libya bombardment, an immediate ceasefire and serious diplomatic support for the African Union Peace Plan initiative," commented Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.  When Parliament voted to extend Canada's participation in the Libya conflict, May warned that future application of R2P was being diplomatically undermined.  
Since the recent unrest began in March, over 2,000 protesters have been killed by Syrian security forces.
The U.N Security Council yesterday issued a "Presidential Statement" condemning the violence and calling for those responsible to be held accountable but without any enforceable penalties.  Russia has opposed supporting an enforceable Security Council R2P-type Resolution, fearing it could lead to the kind of  "mission-creep"  evidenced in the NATO  regime-change-before-peace-talks approach in Libya.
Green Party International Affairs Critic Eric Walton also called on the Canadian government to investigate claims that depleted uranium (D.U.) bombs have been used by NATO in Libya - especially in view of Canada's command role.  "Given the tragic long-term health impact of such weapons on civilian populations, I can only hope these assertions are proven false.  If however they are shown to be accurate, this would represent a political misjudgement of epic proportions given what is claimed to be a Responsibility-to-Protect mission" commented Mr. Walton.

Kieran Green
Director of Communications