Russia, China justify veto as criticisms mount

Russia and China had stuck to their ally Bashar al-Assad in vetoing a UNSC resolution condemning the Syrian regime`s deadly crackdown.

Updated: Feb 05, 2012, 21:44 PM IST

Moscow/Beijing: As their UN Security Council
veto on Syria invited bitter criticism, both Russia and China
shot back today contending that the half-baked resolution
would have only sent an "unbalanced signal" to the feuding
parties rather than help resolve the crisis.

Both Russia and China had stuck to their ally Bashar
al-Assad in vetoing a UN Security Council resolution
condemning the Syrian regime`s deadly crackdown.

The move that came amidst reports that troops had killed
260 civilians overnight in the city of Homs, sparked
widespread outrage and condemnation from the West and the Arab
governments, who were pushing for the resolution.

Defending their action, Moscow and Beijing said the draft
of the resolution needed more work.

"The authors of the draft Syria resolution, unfortunately,
did not want to undertake an extra effort and come to a
consensus... The result is known," Deputy Foreign Minister
Gennady Gatilov wrote on Twitter in his comments on the issue.

Earlier, Russia`s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin had
justified the veto, saying the proposed resolution "sent an
unbalanced signal to the Syrian parties".

His Chinese counterpart Li Baodong said pushing through
such "a vote when parties are still seriously divided ... will
not help maintain the unity and authority of the Security
Council, or help resolve the issue."

In a commentary, China`s official news agency Xinhua said
the veto was aimed at preventing more "turbulence and
fatalities" in the violence-hit state.

It said the veto "was aimed at further seeking peaceful
settlement of the chronic Syrian crisis."

It is to be noted that this is the second time the two
countries have vetoed resolutions on Syria where rights groups
cried massacre at the hands of Syrian authorities.

Opposition groups say over 6,000 have now been killed in
the country since the anti-Assad uprising began last March.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 260
civilians, including many women and children, were killed as
troops shelled Homs "randomly" during the night.

The "Assad regime committed one of the most horrific
massacres since the beginning of the uprising in Syria," it

Rights groups and other parties to the fresh UNSC
resolution were harsh in criticism of the veto that prevented
any UN action in Syria.

In harsh criticism, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice
told the council that Russia and China "remain steadfast in
their willingness to sell out the Syrian people and shield a
craven tyrant".

Human Rights Watch termed the veto a "betrayal" of the
Syrian people and an "incendiary" move.

"Vetoes by Russia and China are not only a slap in the
face of the Arab League, they are also a betrayal of the
Syrian people," said Philippe Bolopion, UN director at Human
Rights Watch.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep regret,
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the veto would
encourage further crackdowns by the Syrian regime.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Russia and
China had "sided with the Syrian regime and its brutal
suppression" in their own national interests.

London-based rights group Amnesty International called the
veto a "shockingly callous betrayal" of the Syrian people.
In a separate message on Twitter, Rice wrote: "Disgusted
that Russia and China prevented the UN Security Council from
fulfilling its sole purpose."