Russia, China Veto UN Resolution on Syria; US, Europe ‘Outraged’

Posted October 5th, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan says his government will impose its own sanctions on Syria, despite the failure of a European-drafted resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

Russia and China vetoed the resolution Tuesday, sparking U.S. and European outrage. The measure contained possible references to sanctions against Syria if its leader pursues a brutal crackdown on opposition protesters.

Mr. Erdogan said during a speech in South Africa Wednesday that the failed resolution will not deter Turkey and some European countries from taking action.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the draft written by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal was opposed by countries who “would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime.” She said Washington is “outraged” by the vote, while France's envoy vowed the veto “will not stop us.”

Rice and the U.S. delegation walked out of the Council chamber as Syria's representative launched a bitter condemnation of countries seeking action against President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's U.N. envoy said Moscow opposes sanctions, particularly because many Syrians do not support the anti-government movement. He said what he described as the Europeans' confrontational approach is “against the peaceful settlement of the crisis.”

China's foreign ministry said in a statement the draft proposal would “blindly” pressure Syria and not help ease the situation in the country.

The resolution's four European sponsors revised the draft three times in an attempt to avoid the vetoes. The watered-down measure received nine votes in favor and four abstentions .

The proposal demands the immediate end to all bloodshed in Syria and calls for a new political process in an environment “free from violence, fear, intimidation and extremism.” An explicit threat of sanctions was replaced with language merely discussing their possible consideration.

Syria has been using military force to crush almost seven months of opposition protests demanding an end to Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.

The United Nations says at least 2,700 people have been killed in the crackdown.

Also Wednesday, Syrian state television broadcast an interview with a woman who had been reportedly been killed last month while in the custody.

A woman who identified herself as Zainab al-Hosni said she had fled her home in July because her brother allegedly abused her, and that she heard the reports of her death on television.

International rights groups, including London-based Amnesty International, said last month she was the first woman to die in custody since the anti-government uprising began. The groups denounced her death, and said her mother had found her mutilated body.

They did not immediately comment on Wednesday's interview.