Washington: The US is disappointed with the way Russia and, to some extent, China have been exercising their veto power in the UN Security Council to blunt global efforts for peace in Syria, the White House has said as it underscored the need to reform the powerful wing of the world body.
"We have been deeply concerned by the way Russia has used its veto power on the UN Security Council to prevent as much action from the UN as we would like to see," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"I know there has been a broader and, in some ways, more esoteric discussion about proposed reforms of the UN Security Council and the way that it works. I know there have been some proposals to enlarge it. Our friends in India are certainly interested in benefitting from reforms like that," Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference on Thursday.
India has been strongly pushing for reform of the UN Security Council and getting its permanent membership.
He said as it relates to the situation in Syria, the US' most urgent concern is with the way Russia has used their veto authority on the Security Council at the UN.
"The United States has been disappointed at the way in which Russia and to a certain extent China have wielded their veto authority on the UN Security Council to blunt international efforts to limit the violence inside of Syria," the White House spokesman said.
"We have been disappointed that they have used that veto to protect (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad. There have also been movements at the United Nations Security Council to raise concerns about the conduct of individuals in that conflict and to ensure that they are met with some accountability. Those accountability measures have been blocked by the Russians," Earnest said.
There are other examples of the US being able to work effectively outside the auspices of the UN to implement sanctions in a coordinated fashion to maximise the impact of those sanctions, he said.
The situation in Ukraine is the best example where the US has been able to work effectively with its European allies to impose tough sanctions against Russia, Earnest said.
"I would be among the first to point out that the sanctions that we have imposed on Russia, in concert with our European allies, as a result of Russia's actions in Ukraine have not yet achieved the desired result."
"We have not seen the change in strategy on the part of the Russians that we would like to see in Ukraine. We have not seen them indicate their clear respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," Earnest said.
"We do know that those sanctions have had an impact on Russia's economy. Russia is paying the price for their actions inside of Ukraine. That price is one that they have to pay because of the ability of the US to work effectively with our European partners to impose those costs. That is something that we did not do through the UN obviously because Russia has a veto on the UN Security Council."
"Our preference is always to work through the UN when it comes to implementing these sanctions because it means that even more countries are able to coordinate their actions with the US which essentially has a multiplier effect in terms of the strength of the sanctions and the size of the cost," the White House Press Secretary said.
He said the US does have options and has demonstrated an ability to work outside of the UN to achieve a similar result.
"So I guess the point is in this case I would not rule out multilateral efforts outside of the UN to impose costs on Syria or Russia or others with regard to the situation inside of Syria. We have done that in the past. I would not take that off the table in terms of the options that the President may consider in this situation," Earnest added.
The 15-member UN Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.