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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid