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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs