UNSC vote on Syria resolution 390 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Allison Joyce)
UNITED NATIONS - Russia and China joined forces in a double veto on
Saturday to knock down a Western-Arab UN Security Council resolution
backing an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step
The other 13 council members voted in favor of the
resolution, which would have said that the council "fully supports" the
Arab League plan aimed at ending 11 months of bloodshed as Syria has
sought to crush an anti-Assad uprising.
Mohammed Loulichki, the
UN ambassador of Morocco, the sole Arab member of the 15-nation council,
voiced his "great regret and disappointment" that Moscow and Beijing
struck down the resolution.
Dropping the usual diplomatic
courtesies, US Ambassador Susan Rice said she was "disgusted" by the
Russian and Chinese veto, adding that "any further bloodshed that flows
will be on their (Russia's and China's) hands."
Gerard Araud told the council, "It is a sad day for this council, a sad
day for all Syrians, and a sad day for democracy." He said Moscow and
Beijing were now "complicit in the policy of repression" of Damascus.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "deeply regrets" the failure of the Security Council to pass the resolution, a spokesman said, calling it a "disappointment." "It undermines the role of the United Nations and the international community," he added.
is the second time that permanent members Russia and China have
exercised a double veto on the Syria issue. In October, they vetoed a
European-drafted resolution condemning Syria and threatening it with
Diplomats said China had been expected to
follow Russia's lead and the decision to veto the text came from Moscow.
Russia had complained that the draft resolution was an attempt at
"regime change" in Syria, Moscow's close ally and a key Russian weapons
Russia's decision to vote against the
resolution came after US and European officials rejected a series of
Russian amendments to the draft resolution that Rice said were
Prior to the vote, several Western diplomats said
that if Russia vetoed the resolution, it would be a sign of what they
referred to as the "re-Putinization" of Russian foreign policy -
referring to expectations that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
will return to the presidency after this year's elections.
changes proposed by Russia, seen by Reuters, would have introduced
language assigning blame to Syria's opposition, as well as the
government, for violence in which the United Nations says more than
5,000 people have died.
Western nations reject the idea of equal blame, saying the government is mainly responsible.
had also insisted on dropping a demand that the Syrian government
withdraw its security forces from cities, but US and European
delegations refuse to include that change.
Clinton warns more bloodshed if Syria action blocked
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Saturday that the risk of
more bloodshed and civil war in Syria had increased after her attempt to
get Russia to back a U.N. Security Council vote condemning President
Bashar Assad had failed.
"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," she said.
at the Munich Security Conference just as Russia and China were vetoing
a resolution backing an Arab League call for Assad to step aside,
Clinton said her talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in
Munich had failed to overcome Moscow's misgivings.
that there might be some ways to bridge, even at this last moment, a few
of the concerns that the Russians had," she said. "I offered to work in
a constructive manner to do so. That has not been possible."
told reporters that Lavrov had asked her what was the "endgame" in the
diplomatic negotiations. "Well the endgame, in the absence of us acting
together as the international community, I fear, is civil war," she told
The US Secretary of State said military intervention in Syria had been "absolutely ruled out".