News / Middle East

Russia, China Veto UN Resolution on Syria

The banners read
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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs