Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria

Members of the UN Security Council have voted on a draft resolution on Syria on Tuesday. The resolution was not passed with nine votes in favor, two against, and four abstentions, with Russia and China voting against the proposed resolution.

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said that Russia did not support the resolution because it was based on a totally different philosophy, “a philosophy of confrontation,” and contained “an ultimatum of sanctions.”

China’s ambassador, Li Bandong, said his country had opposed the resolution because “sanctions, or threat of sanctions, do not help the situation in Syria but rather complicate the situation.”

In order for the resolution to be adopted, nine of the 15 Security Council members had to support it, with none of the veto-wielding members voting against.

The vote followed weeks of debate over whether to impose sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Many countries had been working on finding a text that could result in a compromise among the 15 Security Council members.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, said that the current resolution was “unacceptable” as it envisaged sanctions and did not call on Assad’s government to start talks with the opposition, Interfax news agency reported.

Many Security Council members do not want Syria to turn into another Libya. Russia and China cast a veto on resolution, as its text left the door open for further sanctions.

Russia repeatedly said that it would not support any text in a resolution that would leave the door open for sanctions, so Britain, France, Germany and Portugal dropped the word ‘sanctions’ from their draft resolution.

The US, Turkey, and other countries had independently imposed sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But all this time Russia was spearheading more negotiations, and rejected resolution drafts put forward by other UN members.

Protests in Syria erupted in March and during the government’s harsh response more than 2700 people have since died, according to the UN’s own figures.

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