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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid