Latest News / United Nation – Russia and China joined forces on Tuesday to veto a European-drafted UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria and hinting it could face sanctions if its bloody crackdown on protesters continues.
The decision by Moscow and Beijing to use their veto power, Western diplomats told Reuters, could indicate that the Security Council might be headed for a longer-term deadlock on issues related to the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the “Arab Spring” pro-democracy movements in the region.
The draft resolution received nine votes in favor and four abstentions from Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa. Russia and China cast the only votes against the resolution, which was drafted by France with the cooperation of Britain, Germany and Portugal.
“We cannot today doubt the meaning of this veto of this text,” French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud told the 15-nation council. “This is not a matter of wording. It is a political choice. It is a refusal of all resolutions of the council against Syria.”
“This veto will not stop us,” he added. “No veto can give carte blanche to the Syrian authorities.”
The United Nations says Syrian military operations against demonstrators have killed at least 2,700 civilians.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Washington was “outraged” by what diplomats said was a “double veto” by Moscow and Beijing, adding that the time had long past for the Security Council to adopt “tough targeted sanctions” on Damascus.
“The crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council and we will not rest until this council rises to meet its responsibilities,” she said.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said that he, too, was “deeply disappointed” by the rejection of the resolution.
Regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s promises of reforms, Lyall Grant said: “There is no sign of reform or a genuine attempt to address the concerns of the Syrian population.”
He later read a joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, telling reporters “those who blocked this resolution will have that on their conscience,” and that it was a “bitter blow” to those fighting for democracy in Syria.