BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: Russia and China has again blocked moves by the United Nations Security Council to try and bring the violence to an end in Syria.
There are ongoing concerns of course that the country is descending into all out civil war.
Well for Australia's reaction to that overnight news we're joined on the phone from California by our Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr.
Bob Carr many thanks for joining us this morning. We've seen the UK and the US outraged by the Russia and China veto of this. What are your thoughts?
BOB CARR: Well we share their anger and their disappointment. I've been appealing to Russia's aspirations to global leadership and saying that they should pay attention to the humanitarian disaster inside Syria.
Above all we've got to remember this is just a disaster for the people whose homes are being bombed; estimates of a million homes destroyed, we don't know whether that's right, but it certainly points to an awful condition for the people of Syria [line breaks up] get a resolution out of the Security Council that would tighten sanctions on the regime and make those regimes enforceable across all the 193 member nations of the UN.
BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: Having said that though the Assad regime has seemed to have no appetite at all to care for what the international world thinks. Why would that veto have made any difference?
BOB CARR: Well the veto exercised by two permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China, stopped the resolution being carried that would have applied comprehensive sanctions against the regime. That would mean the regime not being able to import bullets, not being able to import food. That would have represented, we think, overwhelming - overwhelming pressure on the Assad regime to accept a ceasefire and to enter negotiations with opposition forces within the country.
BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: The US now says that they will try and work outside the Security Council. What are some of the measures do you think that they could come up with?
BOB CARR: I wouldn't be able to speculate about those. The overwhelming priority actually in the next hours in the UN is to get a resolution that enables the work of the United Nations supervision mission in Syria, which monitors and investigates, to continue. Their mandate runs out July 20, we need a resolution of the Security Council if those ears and eyes of the world community are going to continue in Syria. Without it we don't have the sort of evidence that has been collected so far by brave United Nations monitors.
BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: Do you think there is any option for military intervention? Of course we've heard from analysts who say it is such a different situation to Libya, a far more complex on in terms of trying to intervene externally.
BOB CARR: I think the world recognises the sheer difficulties of attempting the sort of UN mandated intervention that was carried out by NATO nations in Syria; the sort of intervention we saw in Libya being applied in Syria. It is a very different situation, it's more complex, the regime has got more military strength and the regime is showing more signs of cohesion. That is very very difficult indeed.
BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: How pivotal still is Kofi Annan's role? As you say his mandate runs out within 24 hours. How critical is it that he receives more support from the UN to continue trying to broker some deal?
BOB CARR: Well the important thing is to allow the UNSMIS to have its mandate rolled over so that we continue to have eyes and ears in that country. Without that the regime could be emboldened to be even more violent in its response to protests. Without that we've got no independent flow of information about what's going on. We'll be entirely dependant on the work of brave journalists and of opposition forces who are using their own media to get messages to the outside world.
In the meantime the regime looks increasingly brittle, fragile, incapable of maintaining security. It's all the more important therefore that the UN continue to have a presence.
BEVERLEY O'CONNOR: Bob Carr we thank you for your time this morning.
BOB CARR: My pleasure. Thank you.
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