News / USA

    Russia, China Defend Syria Resolution Veto, US Calls Move 'Travesty'

    Hundreds of Syrians living in Turkey and human right activists shout anti-Assad slogans as they stage a protest outside the Syrian consulate to condemn the latest killings by Syrian regime in Syria, in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.
    Hundreds of Syrians living in Turkey and human right activists shout anti-Assad slogans as they stage a protest outside the Syrian consulate to condemn the latest killings by Syrian regime in Syria, in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.

    Russia and China are defending their veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to a deputy to help end Syria's months-long unrest.

    The Russian government said Sunday it vetoed the Western and Arab-backed resolution the previous day because of what it viewed as "ultimatum-like" demands for the removal of Mr. Assad, Moscow's only military ally in the Middle East.  Moscow accused the resolution's supporters of lacking the "political will" to reach an international agreement on resolving the Syrian crisis. Thirteen of the Security Council's 15 members voted in favor of the draft.

    Moscow also said its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and spy agency chief Mikhail Fradkov will travel to Syria on Tuesday to call on President Assad to "rapidly" implement democratic reforms to stabilize the situation. Syria's 11-month opposition uprising against Mr. Assad's autocratic rule has escalated into open conflict between rebels and pro-Assad forces in recent months after a deadly government crackdown on peaceful protesters.

    A commentary published by the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, said Beijing vetoed the resolution to oppose what it perceived as an effort to promote "regime change" in Syria through "external force" in violation of international norms.   It said China believes the international community should promote dialogue in Syria and "respect the ability of the Syrian people to resolve the crisis by themselves."

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the double veto as a "travesty" while on a visit to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. She said the United States will work with its allies outside the United Nations to tighten "regional and national" sanctions on Syria and "dry up sources of funding and arms shipments" that keep the Assad government's "war machine going," as she put it.

    Clinton also called for "friends of a democratic Syria" to coordinate assistance to the Syrian opposition and support what she said is the Syrian people's right to have a better future.  She gave no details about which nations might join the effort or what specific steps they might take.

    The head of the main opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, called the double veto "a new license to kill ... for Bashar al-Assad and his criminal regime."

    Syrian rights activists said fighting between pro-Assad troops and loosely-organized rebels killed at least 56 people across Syria on Sunday, about half of them civilians. The activists reported more shelling in the central city of Homs, where they said at least 200 people were massacred in a government bombardment late Friday into Saturday in what appeared to be one of the deadliest incidents of the revolt.

    There was no independent confirmation of the casualties as Syria restricts independent reporting in the country.

    Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Sunday the Arab bloc will continue its efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.  He said the Russian and Chinese veto "does not negate" what he called "clear international support" for the league's plan for a Syrian transition of power.

    The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, said the nations backing the vetoed resolution were supporting what he called "armed terrorists" that Damascus blames for the country's unrest.

    The double veto sparked protests around the world Sunday.  Anti-Assad activists stormed Russia's embassy in Libya's capital, Tripoli, climbing on the roof and tearing down the flag.  Elsewhere, Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse protesters seeking to storm the Syrian consulate in Istanbul.  In Beirut, hundreds of Syrian opposition activists and Lebanese supporters demonstrated outside the Russian embassy.

    In another show of Arab anger toward the Syrian government, Tunisia's prime minister said Sunday his country is cutting ties with Damascus.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora