Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution recommending sanctions against Syria for the ongoing crackdown on protestors as India with its IBSA compatriots Brazil and South Africa abstained.
The resolution was voted 9-2-4; nine for, two against and four abstentions, Lebanon was the fourth to abstain. The draft was piloted by European member countries the UK, France, Germany and Portugal, backed by the US.
This was the second attempt by the western nations to bring a resolution on the Syrian unrests. The first came on India’s watch as the president of Security Council in August. That too had failed, ending in a Presidential Statement.
The US was over the Tuesday vote. Its ambassador to the UN Susan Rice tweeted within moments of the vote: The people of Syria who seek nothing more than their universal human rights, have been slapped in the face.
Permanent representative to the UN Hardeep Puri specifically mentioned opposition to sanctions and the failure of the draft to condemn violence caused by the Syrian opposition as India’s reasons for abstaining.
This was pretty much the stand taken by Russia and China too: Bashar al-Assad is no friend, we condemn violence by his regime, but the threat of sanction is not the best solution for the problem. Also, violence by the opposition must stop too.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his country did not support the Assad regime or the crackdown but opposed the resolution because it was “based on a philosophy of confrontation,” contained “an ultimatum of sanctions”.
China’s Ambassador Li Bandong said his country is concerned about the ongoing violence and wants to see reforms but opposed the resolution because “sanctions, or threat of sanctions, do not help the situation in Syria but rather complicate the situation.", according to AP
UN diplomatic sources said the westerns nations had been told before the vote that both Russia and China will veto it. “Why did they have to press a vote? What have they managed to prove? That the international community is divided?”
“We are getting into reordering societies,” a source said.
Those against the resolution cite Libya to prove their point. The UN Security Council resolution mandating the protection of Libyan citizens was used NATO to bomb Muammar Gaddafi out of office.
A not-so significant sideshow of the Syria vote on Tuesday was the focus on India voting record, which continues to be at variance the US, which last year endorsed New Delhi’s claim to a permanent seat at the Security Council.
A conservative think-tank expert tweeted: Does India get the amount of goodwill it has lost here in Washington since January. He added in a subsequent tweet that India has pretty much blown its chances of a permanent seat.