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UN: Russia, China veto third UN Syria resolution

20-07-2012

Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that sought to impose sanctions and open the door for military action against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

It was the third time in nine months that the two powers have used their vetoes as permanent members of the 15-nation council to block Western-backed resolutions on Syria.

There were 11 votes in favor, Russia and China's votes against and two abstentions – Pakistan and South Africa.

The text, backed by the United States, France, Germany and Portugal, called for non-military sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if Assad did not withdraw heavy weapons from Syrian cities in 10 days.

Russia had said it could not accept Chapter VII as it was wary of foreign interference in Syria.

Moscow's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after the veto that the resolution sought to "open the path to the pressure of sanctions and further to external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs."

"Their calculations to use the UN Security Council to further their plans to put their pressure on sovereign states will not pass," Churkin added in an acrimonious council debate on Syria after the veto.

The West and Russia have been at fierce odds over the Syrian crisis, with Moscow and Beijing concerned Western powers are seeking to exploit the violence to further their interests.

Syria has been a staunch ally of Russia, hosting Moscow's only naval base in the Mediterranean.

Western powers have backed rebels waging the fight against Assad, deepening the division with Russia over the crisis.

Last year a similar resolution was used to justify a NATO bombing campaign in Libya to bring down the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

Britain's envoy to the UN Mark Lyall Grant, whose country took the lead in writing the resolution, said he was "appalled" by the veto.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters)

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/russia-china-veto-syria-resolution

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