News / Middle East

    Russia, China Veto UN Resolution on Syria

    Russian representative Vitaly Churkin vetoes a draft resolution backing an Arab League call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
    Russian representative Vitaly Churkin vetoes a draft resolution backing an Arab League call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer

    Russia and China have once again blocked an effort by the U.N. Security Council to condemn the on-going violence in Syria. The two powers used their vetoes to defeat a resolution on Saturday that would have also endorsed an Arab League plan to help end the bloodshed.

    The Syrian crisis has been a divisive force in the 15-nation Security Council for months. In October, Russia and China both vetoed a resolution condemning the violence.

    Saturday’s vote came after weeks and days of tense negotiations and after a night of spiraling violence in Syria. Last minute huddles and phone calls inside the council chamber could not prevent the measure’s failure, despite the 13 votes in favor.

    In the end it came down to a few phrases that Russia wanted changed or added, but that the Arab and Western sponsors of the text refused to alter or insert, saying they had made enough concessions already.

    Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States was “disgusted” that Russia and China had once again blocked council action on Syria, particularly as the draft resolution had no references to sanctions, an arms embargo or military intervention. She also chided Russia for continuing to sell weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

    “For months this Council has been held hostage by a couple of members.  These members stand behind empty arguments and individual interests while delaying and seeking to strip bare any text that would pressure Assad to change his actions.  This intransigence is even more shameful when you consider that at least one of these members continues to deliver weapons to Assad," she said.

    The British ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said he was “appalled” at the double veto, saying there was nothing in the text that should have triggered it. “The reality is that Russia and China have today taken a choice: to turn their backs on the Arab world and to support tyranny rather than the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.  They have failed in their responsibility as permanent members of the Security Council," he said.

    He told reporters later that he was particularly surprised by China’s vote against the resolution, as they had not expressed any particular concerns about the text during negotiations.

    France’s  Ambassador, Gérard Araud, was equally indignant, criticizing Russia and China for obstructing council action and saying history would judge harshly those who did not support the Arab League plan and aligned themselves with a regime that massacred its own people.

    But Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that consensus was possible, Moscow just wanted a few more days to negotiate and they were pushed to use their veto because other council members insisted on holding the vote Saturday without giving their proposals due consideration. “We were trying to suggest that we continue our discussions in order to reach consensus, so we were prepared for an extra mile, it was our colleagues who did not accept it," he said.

    Churkin acknowledged that “tragic events” are happening in Syria, but said the Security Council is not the only “diplomatic tool on this planet” and he noted that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the foreign intelligence chief are going to Damascus on Tuesday to meet with President Assad.

    Syria’s envoy, Bashar al-Ja’afari, continued to blame the violence in his country on armed groups and terrorist gangs that he said are supported by foreign sources and media campaigns in hostile countries.

    In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman said the U.N. chief “deeply regretted” the failure of the council to act. He said it undermines the role of the United Nations and the international community in this period when the Syrian authorities must hear a unified voice calling for an immediate end to its violence against the Syrian people.

    Meanwhile, the death toll continued to mount in the Syrian town of Homs, where activists say the military bombarded the city overnight, killing more than 200 people in one of the bloodiest days since the crackdown began last March.

    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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.