UN veto ‘last call’ for Syrian government, opposition

Russia’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution is the last warning for the Syrian authorities and opposition to sit down at the negotiating table, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution last Tuesday that urged the Syrian regime to immediately stop using violence against protesters or face “targeted measures.”

“Russia’s veto of the Syria resolution is no carte blanche for Syria’s current ruling regime to do what it pleases, not a free ride for the regime or the opposition,” Mikhail Margelov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, said.

Russia has exhausted “the array of tools” provided by international law, he said.

“The Russian veto is the last call for the authorities and the opposition to sit down at the roundtable and start nationwide dialogue,” he said, adding that Russia was ready to facilitate it with its “political influence and political authority in the international arena.”

His remarks echo those by President Dmitry Medvedev who said on Friday that Syria’s leadership should carry through reforms in the country or leave office.

The draft resolution, sponsored by France with Britain, Germany and Portugal, was supported by nine out of 15 Security Council member states. Four others – Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon – abstained.


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