10/05/2011, 00.00
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China and Russia block a draft UN condemnation of Syria

The Security Council voted on a draft of a European resolution against internal repression by Damascus. Nine in favour and four abstentions, but the veto of China and Russia blocks the project. Moscow: "unacceptable" because it does not exclude recourse to a foreign military intervention. United States: "outraged".
New York (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China and Russia have vetoed a resolution of the UN Security Council condemning Syria for violence against the opposition. The resolution, prepared by some European countries, had been watered down in hopes of avoiding a veto by eliminating a direct reference to sanctions against Damascus. But Beijing and Moscow have said that the draft did not exclude outside military intervention in Syria, and vetoed it.

The last time China and Russia used this tool was in 2008 when the two countries blocked UN sanctions against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. The U.S. representative at the United Nations said she was "outraged" over the veto. "The United States is furious over the fact that the Council has completely failed," said Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN immediately after the vote. Rice criticized countries that opposed the resolution that "would prefer to sell arms to the Syrian regime." Rice left in protest when the Syrian representative spoke after the vote.

The resolution, which threatened the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad with "targeted measures" rather than "sanctions" was prepared by France and Britain, with the help of Portugal. Nine members of the Security Council voted in favour and four (South Africa, Lebanon, India and Brazil) abstained. "Some countries submitted a draft resolution to blindly impose pressure and even threatened sanctions against Syria. This would not help to ease the situation "said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said the draft was based on "a philosophy of confrontation" and that an ultimatum with the threat of sanctions against the Syrian authorities was "unacceptable". Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong said that Beijing was opposed to the idea of "interference in internal affairs" in Syria. "The sanctions or the threat of sanctions can not resolve the question of Syria," they may even "further complicate the situation."

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