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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid