Russia and China Block UN Resolution on Syria

Posted February 4th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Western powers Russia and China have again vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria condemning President Bashar al-Assad's nearly year-long crackdown on anti-government protests.

The 15-member council voted on a Western and Arab-backed resolution that condemned the violence and called for Mr. Assad to step aside. Thirteen members voted in favor, including the United States, France and Germany.

Russia and China's veto made a clear statement just hours after U.S. President Barack Obama called for the council to take a stand against President Assad's “relentless brutality.”

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice expressed, in a critical statement, the United States' disappointment with Russia and China, but she maintained that the U.S. will not give up or turn its back on Syria.

“The United States is disgusted that a couple members of this council continue to prevent us from fulfilling our sole purpose here: addressing an ever deepening crisis in Syria and a growing threat to regional peace and security.”

Russia defended its decision, saying members of the council have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement by calling for a regime change, pushing the opposition towards power and feeding methods of armed struggle.

“The draft resolution that was put to a vote did not adequately reflect the real state of affairs in Syria, and has sent an unbalanced signal to the Syrian parties.”

Churkin says Russia is committed to ending the bloodshed, and is taking measures to do so. Russia announced Saturday that it will send Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Kremlin's foreign intelligence service chief, Mikhail Fradkov, to Syria on Tuesday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia wants the resolution to equally condemn the violence from both anti- and pro-government forces. It also is against the possibility of foreign intervention in the conflict.

The deliberations at the United Nations in New York followed by hours a heavy barrage of mortar and artillery fire from Syrian security forces that crashed into the Syrian city of Homs. Human rights activists say more than 200 people were killed by the Assad government's action.

British ambassador to the U.N. Mark Lyall Grant told the Security Council that Russia and China are standing behind “empty arguments” and “individual interests.”

“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.”

Tunisia took a stand against the intensifying violence in Syria on Saturday. In a statement on his Facebook page Saturday, President Moncef Marzouki said Tunisia has begun the process of withdrawing its ambassador to Syria and its recognition of Mr. Assad's government.

Syrian security forces opened fired on a funeral procession Saturday, killing at least seven people in the Damascus suburb of Daraya.

“It is regrettable that these reasonable concerns are not taken into account. To put through a vote when parties are still seriously divided over the issue, will not help maintain the unity and authority of the Security Council or help properly resolve the issue.”