America’s ambassador to the U.N. stormed out of a security council meeting after China and Russia vetoed a resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown on anti-government protests.
Furious Susan Rice claimed Washington was ‘outraged’ by opposition to the resolution describing it as a ‘cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people’.
Over 2,700 people have been killed in Syria in the six months since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began.
Ms Rice said: ‘The United States is outraged that this council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security.
‘Today the courageous people of Syria can now see who on this council supports their yearning for liberty and universal human rights and who does not.’
The resolution had been carefully drafted by France with the co-operation of Britain, Germany and Portugal.
The wording had been changed three times in an attempt to make it more palatable to Moscow and Beijing with a reference to sanctions against Damascus being dropped.
Nine members of the 15-strong council backed the vote held late Tuesday while four more abstained.
However Russia and China came out opposed the draft arguing it could be used to justify Nato-led Libya-style military action in Syria.
It was the first double veto by Russia and China since July 2008 when they blocked proposed sanctions against Zimbabwe.
In January 2007, they also vetoed a resolution calling on Burma to release all political prisoners, initiate a wide-ranging dialogue and end military attacks and human rights abuses.
China’s ambassador Li Baodong said his country was against interference in Syria’s internal affairs, claiming the sanction could ‘further complicate the situation’.
The Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said it was ‘unacceptable’ to use the threat of sanctions against Syria and claimed the draft was based on ‘the philosophy of confrontation’.
He also cited Nato’s intervention in Libya and suggested the Opposition movement in Syria was to blame for the troubles saying they should refrain from using violence and distance themselves from extremist elements.
However Mr Churkin added that Moscow hoped Bashar al-Assad’s regime would be ‘quicker with implementing the promised changes.’
Both Russia and China accuse Nato of using a similar resolution authorising the use of force to protect civilians in Libya as an excuse to topple Col Gaddafi’s regime.
The inability to agree on a suitable course of action for Syria has led to growing frustration and the emergence of divisions with in the Security council.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the veto ‘will be a great disappointment to the people of Syria and the wider region that some members of this council could not show their support for their struggle for basic human rights.’
He added: ‘By blocking this resolution, the onus is now on those countries to step up their efforts and persuade the Syrian government to end the violence and pursue genuine reform.’
Six months since the troubles began President Bashar al-Assad insists his government is in the process of introducing reforms, blaming the continued unrest on armed gangs.
His envoy Bashar Jaafari, said Syria was ‘astounded’ by the council’s efforts to ‘undermine stability, security and co-existence’ in the Middle East.
Ms Rice walked out in protest when Mr Bashar claimed Israel could be seen as ‘partaking in a genocide’ and that said the US was using its veto power to protect its ally.
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