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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid