Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Russia and China veto new UN sanctions against the Syrian regime

As the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Syria continues, Russia and China have blocked an effort by Western nations to impose new sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

After last-minute negotiations delayed a United Nations Security Council vote on Tuesday evening, Russia and China exercised their veto right and quashed a European-led resolution threatening Syria with sanctions.
Germany, Britain, France and Portugal sought the Security Council vote to impose "targeted measures" against the regime of President Bashar Assad for the crackdown that has killed 2,700 people since March, according to rights groups and the UN.
The proposal called for sanctions to be introduced if Assad failed to comply within 30 days with instructions to end the violence and enact reforms.
It would have been the first legally binding resolution adopted by the Security Council since Assad began his military crackdown on the protesters who have been calling for the end to Assad's regime for months.
Hoping to avoid the double veto, the European sponsors had watered down the language three times, even removing the word "sanction."
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, however, that Russia opposed because it was "based on a philosophy of confrontation" and included "an ultimatum of sanctions."
Western governments have expressed frustration with the council over its failure to adopt any resolution on Syria since pro-democracy protests began earlier this year.
Both the Russian and Chinese ambassadors maintained that their countries are concerned about the ongoing violence in Syria but did not think the Security Council resolution was the right move.