Syrian opposition leader condemns Russian, Chinese veto

The Syrian opposition condemned Russia and China on Wednesday for vetoing a UN Security Council draft resolution urging the Syrian regime to immediately stop violence against protesters or face “targeted measures,” the Sawa radio station reported, quoting opposition leader Burhan Ghalyoun.

“The Russian-Chinese veto in the UN Security Council encourages violence in Syria,” Ghalyoun, who heads a group of Syrian opposition leaders, the National Transitional Council, was quoted as saying.

The draft resolution, put forward by France with Britain, Germany and Portugal, was supported by 9 out of 15 Security Council member states during a UN vote late on Tuesday. Four others – Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon – abstained.

Russia and China have faced strong criticism from the West for blocking the resolution, with the United States saying the Syrian people “who seek nothing more than the opportunity to achieve their universal human rights” have been “slapped in the face.”

Russia said the document was “unacceptable” because it contained a one-sided condemnation of the Assad regime and the prospect of sanctions, which could lead to foreign military interference in Syria. Citing NATO’s military operation in Libya as an example of “abuse” of UN Security Council decisions, Moscow said it would strongly oppose any attempts to overthrow “undesirable regimes” under the guise of a UN mandate.

As the number of victims of the Syrian unrest climbed above 2,700, according to UN estimates, the Syrian opposition announced on Sunday the creation of the National Transitional Council to coordinate efforts aimed at toppling the Assad regime. The Syrian authorities have blamed the unrest on “terrorist gangs” coordinated from abroad.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich announced on Wednesday that two Syrian opposition delegations – one of them involving Damascus-based opposition leaders and the other formed from representatives of the “so-called National Council”- would visit Moscow in October.

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