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Russia and China veto UN Resolution on Syria

Meanwhile, Syrian TV has broadcast an interview with a woman who human rights groups had said was killed by security forces in July.

Syrian TV broadcast an interview with Zainab Omar al-Hasni, an 18-year-old who activists claimed had been killed by security forces. Independent verification of reports in Syria is impossible due to the ban on foreign journalists.
Syrian TV broadcast an interview with Zainab Omar al-Hasni, an 18-year-old who activists claimed had been killed by security forces. Independent verification of reports in Syria is impossible due to the ban on foreign journalists.
Image: SANA

RUSSIA AND CHINA have vetoed a European-drafted UN resolution which threatened Syria with further international sanctions if the government continued its violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

The veto of the resolution shows the deep divide within the UN Security Council over how to handle President Bashar Assad’s use of military forces against civilians.

Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa abstained from voting, while nine other countries favoured the resolution.

Drafted by France, the UK, Germany and Portugal, the resolution had been watered down to try and avoid such a veto, says the BBC.

It was not enough to persuade Beijing and Moscow, however, who said the draft did not ensure against military intervention.

The final version voted on called for the Assad to end the violence, allow for human rights and freedom, lift all media restrictions and give unhindered access to human rights investigators.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the voting exposed the “conflict of political approaches” and Al Jazeera reports that US ambassador Susan Rice walked out of the meeting in protest.

Moscow said it is concerned that a resolution threatening sanctions is confrontational and could lead to a Libya-style intervention.

China said it was opposed to interfering in “internal affairs” in the Middle Eastern country. Ambassador Li Bandong said, “Sanctions, or threat of sanctions, do not help the situation in Syria but rather complicates the situation.”

Rice, however, hit back stating that some countries would rather “sell arms to the Syrian regime,” while Libya has been “misused as an excuse for countries not to take up their responsibilities”.

She added it was a “sad day” for the people of Syria, as well as the Security Council.

The people of Syria, who seek nothing more than the opportunity to achieve their universal human rights and to see their aspirations for freedom and liberty achieved, have been slapped in the face by several members of this Security Council today,” Rice told reporters.

Earlier today, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country and other European nations would press ahead with certain sanctions against Damascus despite the veto.

Turkey has already imposed an arms embargo on Syria and Erdogan is expected to announce new sanctions on its neighbour later this week.

Death toll

The UN estimates that about 2,700 people have died since the unrest began in mid-March.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Syria, at least nine people were killed yesterday, according to reports by human rights groups.

In a separate development, state-controlled Syrian TV broadcast an interview with Zainab Omar al-Hasni, an 18-year-old who activists had claimed was killed after being detained by Assad’s security forces in July.

According to the SANA news agency, the Homs native ran away from home because she was being abused by her brothers.

The woman in the broadcast refuted claims that she had been arrested at her home. Previously, her family had claimed she was kidnapped before being killed and mutilated by security agents.

It is impossible to verify reports from Syria as access for foreign journalists has been restricted since the Arab Spring protests erupted earlier this year.

-Additional reporting by AP

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