Russia, China veto Syria draft resolution

Updated: 2012-02-05 06:57


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Russia, China veto Syria draft resolution

China's Ambassador Li Baodong (front) votes during a UN Security Council meeting on an Arab-European draft resolution on Syria backing an Arab League plan which demands a regime change in the Middle East country, New York February 4, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

UNITED NATIONS - Russia and China on Saturday vetoed an Arab-European draft resolution on Syria backing an Arab League plan which demands a regime change in the Middle East country, the second time since October 2011.

The draft resolution, tabled by Morocco and backed by the United States and European powers, received 13 votes in favor.

In order to be adopted, a draft resolution needs nine votes in favor and no veto by any of the five permanent members of the 15- nation council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Russia and China staged double veto on October 4, 2011 against a European draft resolution, which meant to strongly condemn "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities" and threatened punitive measures against the Middle East country.

The unadopted draft "fully supports" the January 22 Arab League decision "to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system ... including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition."

The Arab League plan contains demands that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down to pave the way for a new national unity government and national elections in the Middle East country.

Russia and China have voiced their strong opposition to forced regime change in Syria.

Russia warned some countries against meddling in the internal affairs of Syria, saying that the international community should prevent a replay of the Libya model, in which NATO military action help topple the regime of Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi.

Hours before the Security Council entered into a scheduled meeting on Saturday, with Western powers pushing for a council vote on the draft, Russia insisted that the document be amended.

"We circulated an amended resolution which aims to fix two basic problems ...(first), the imposition of conditions on dialogue, and second, measures must be taken to influence not only the government but also armed groups," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference, adding that these two issues are "of crucial importance" from the view of Russia.

French and US ambassadors said after the council vote that they were angry with what they called the inaction of the Security Council to address the current situation of Syria, which has been plunged into a political crisis since March 2011.