Russia, China veto UN resolution on Syria;
India, US disappointed
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.
New York: India has
voted for an Arab and Western-backed UN resolution denouncing the
violent crackdown in Syria and calling for a democratic
transition, but Russia and China vetoed it, saying it amounted to
advocating a regime change.
India and 12 other members of the Security Council, including the
US, Britain and Pakistan, voted in favour of the resolution
condemning Syria's suppression of dragging protests against the
Bashar Assad regime.
In a change from its earlier stand, India came out in support of
the resolution which calls for a "transition to a democratic,
plural political system", withdrawal of Syrian military and armed
forces from cities and towns, and release of those "detained
India explained why it was for the UN move.
"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
Council in New York Saturday.
India, Puri added, felt that the right of the Syrian people to
peacefully protest should be respected.
"India has conveyed this message to the Syrian leadership, both
bilaterally as well as along with its IBSA (India, Brazil, South
"We have impressed upon the Syrian side to abjure violence and pay
heed to the aspirations of the people."
Puri asserted that "the leadership of Syria is a matter for the
Syrian people to decide.
"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
announced by the Syrian leadership with necessary changes so that
they find acceptance among all sections of Syrian society."
Puri added: "India is concerned with the present situation in
Syria that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians
and security personnel over the last 10 months."
The resolution said the Security Council would review the
implementation of the resolution within three ways "and, in the
event of non-compliance, consider further measures".
China and Russia vetoed the resolution on grounds that it may be
used to justify outside intervention in that country.
Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said the draft lacked balance.
"Some influential members of the international community
unfortunately ... have been undermining the opportunity for
political settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the
opportunists to power," he said.
Beijing's UN ambassador Li Baodong said putting pressure on the
Syrian government or "imposing a solution" would not help to
resolve the issue of anti-Assad protests that have left thousands
American ambassador Susan Rice said the US was "disgusted" over
the veto by Russia and China.
Interestingly, the vetoed resolution expressed "its strong
commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial
integrity of Syria", also condemned "all violence" and called for
"an inclusive Syrian-led political process".
Ahead of the vote, US President Barack Obama said Assad had lost
all legitimacy and that the international community "must work to
protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality."
The UN estimates that at least 5,400 people have died in the
Syrian crackdown in the past one year.
India's vote was hailed by Human Rights Watch, which Sunday said
New Delhi had "seen through Assad's lies".
"By supporting the UN resolution, India has rightly supported the
Syrian people," a spokeswoman for the US-based rights body told
"India has seen through (Bashar) Assad's lies, and shown itself to
be an independent world leader," the spokeswoman said.