News / Middle East

    Russia, China Veto UN Resolution on Syria

    The banners read "The deaf and the blind devil" (l) and "Step down devil" (c), as people protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in the city of Homs, September 16, 2011.
    The banners read "The deaf and the blind devil" (l) and "Step down devil" (c), as people protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in the city of Homs, September 16, 2011.
    Margaret Besheer

    Russia and China vetoed a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution late Tuesday condemning a government crackdown in Syria and calling for the immediate end to the violence.  The resolution had nine votes in favor, but four countries abstained - India, Brazil, South Africa and Lebanon.  

    The 15-member council has been deadlocked over the possibility of sanctioning the Assad regime for months over its response to demonstrations.

    The four European sponsors of the resolution said they watered down their text as much as they possibly could to win consensus, in the end only vaguely hinting at the prospect of future sanctions if Syria did not comply.  British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said they tried to meet the concerns of other council members.

    “We removed the sanctions; still it was unacceptable to the minority," he said. "We called on all sides to reject violence and extremism; still it was unacceptable.  We removed any sense that sanctions would automatically follow in 30 days if the regime failed to comply; and still it was unacceptable.  By including reference to Article 41 of the U.N. Charter we made it clear that any further steps would be non-military in nature; still it was unacceptable.”

    He said the text voted on contained nothing any member should have felt the need to oppose.

    U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the vote showed the people of Syria who on the Security Council supports their yearning for liberty and human rights and who does not.

    “And during this season of change, the people of the Middle East can now see clearly which nations have chosen to ignore their calls for democracy and instead prop up desperate, cruel dictators," she said. "Those who oppose this resolution and give cover to a brutal regime will have to answer to the Syrian people and, indeed, to people across the region who are pursuing the same universal aspirations.”

    Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the vote  that accusations by other council members that Moscow is an advocate of Bashar al-Assad’s regime because it blocked the resolution are false.

    “We are not advocates of the Bashar al-Assad regime at all," he said. "We are talking to the government in Damascus in a very demanding tone of voice, telling them what needs to be done in order to get out of this crisis.  It is our firm conviction that we are not siding with anybody in Damascus.  We are siding with the Syrian people, because we think that in the Syrian people and we know that, there are not just the people who are trying to topple the government, but there are those, and the jury still out about who is in majority, who want to see peaceful change.”

    He also reiterated his concern the European resolution, if adopted, could have opened the door to intervention similar to that in Libya, where the council authorized targeted airstrikes aimed at Moammar Gadhafis’ military forces and installations.

    Ambassador Rice dismissed that as  a “cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.”

    Ambassador Churkin, whose government has had a close relationship with Damascus stretching back decades to its Soviet era, said the American ambassador’s accusation was not true and Russia has suffered economic losses before in the enforcement of arms embargoes and other sanctions.  

    The Chinese veto was likely one of solidarity with Russia, as the two countries tend to support each other in the council.  The last time they jointly used their veto was in July 2008 to defeat sanctions aimed at the regime of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

    Syria’s Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari spoke following the vote, accusing Western countries of targeting his government because it has political positions different from the West.

    The United Nations says about 2,700 Syrians have been killed in nearly seven months of anti-government protests.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora