United Nations: Russia and China Saturday vetoed a UN Security Council
resolution on Syria that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to
step down. A disgusted United States reacting on the outcome said
China and Russia would be blamed for further bloodshed in Syria.
India and 12 other members of the UN Security Council members
voted in favour of the resolution condemning Syria.
Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated
with Al Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have
Russia, one of al-Assad's firm supporters during the uprising
against his regime, indicated earlier this week that it would veto
the draft resolution calling on the president to step down.
The West has been trying to persuade Moscow to support a
resolution effectively authorising a military operation but Russia
has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger
crackdown on Syria is preparation for a "Libyan scenario".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said the resolution
did not set enough demands on anti-government armed groups, and
that Russia was concerned it could jeopardize the national
dialogue among political forces in Syria. "The draft resolution
"did not reflect Syria's realities well enough and sent
conflicting signals to the political forces in Syria", he said.
Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service head Mikhail Fradkov will
visit Syria and meet al-Assad Feb 7.
As a UN Security Council draft
resolution to pressure Syria failed after China and Russia voted
against it, India said it backed the motion as it favoured
resolving the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political
process. US Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States was
"disgusted" at the veto by Russia and China.
"Our support for the resolution is in accordance with our support
for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of
the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process,"
India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri told the
The resolution intended to pressure Syria to end its months-long
crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, he noted, "expressly
rules out any measures under Article 42 of the Charter and calls
for serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and
the whole spectrum of the opposition under the auspices of the
League of Arab States."
Asserting that "the leadership of Syria is a matter for the Syrian
people to decide," Puri said: "It would be necessary for all
opposition forces in Syria to peacefully engage in constructive
dialogue with the authorities."
"We hope that this will create a new environment for peace and
facilitate a political process," he said. "This political dialogue
should build upon the political reforms already announced by the
Syrian leadership with necessary changes so that they find
acceptance among all sections of Syrian society."
Ambassadors from three other permanent members of the council -
the United States, France, and the United Kingdom - said they were
furious at Russia and China for failing to halt the worsening,
bloody violence that has consumed the Middle Eastern nation.
In a strongly-worded statement before the vote, US President
Barack Obama said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost all
legitimacy and that the international community "must work to
protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality."
He pointed the finger directly at al-Assad and what he called his
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the vote was a lost
opportunity to halt the violence. The resolution would have
demanded that al-Assad stop the killing and answer international
calls aimed at finding a Syrian-led solution to the crisis.
US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice
said she was "disgusted" by the Russian and Chinese veto on a UN
Security Council resolution on Syria that urges President Bashar
al-Assad to step down.
"Any further bloodshed that flows will be on their (Russia's and
China's) hands," she said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the failure to condemn
al-Assad increased the risk of more bloodshed and civil war in
"If we do not begin the process, I know what will happen: more
bloodshed, increasing resistance by those whose families are being
killed and whose homes are being bombed, and a greater likelihood
that Syria will descend into civil war," Clinton said.
This was the second time that Russia and China as permanent
members have vetoed the Syria issue. In October, they blocked a
European-sponsored resolution condemning Syria and threatening
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government's
11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian
authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with Al
Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been