Resolution vetoed: Syria saved by Russia, China at the UN

Published: February 5, 2012
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari is seen leaving the UN Security Council meeting to discuss a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power in New York February 4, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari is seen leaving the UN Security Council meeting to discuss a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power in New York February 4, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS: Russia and China on Saturday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government’s murderous crackdown on protests for the second time.

Western governments reacted with fury to the new block on UN action over President Bashar al-Assad’s 10 month-old assault on demonstrators which followed weeks of acrimonious negotiations over the text. Pakistan had supported the resolution.

Russia and China “remain steadfast in their willingness to sell out the Syrian people and shield a craven tyrant,” US ambassador Susan Rice told the 15-nation council. UN leader Ban Ki-moon said the failure to agree a resolution “undermines” the United Nations.

Thirteen countries voted for the resolution drafted by Arab and European nations which would have given strong backing to an Arab League plan to end the crisis.

Russia and China made a repeat of their rare double veto carried out on October 5 on an earlier condemnation of Assad. Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called the draft resolution “unbalanced.”

The Security Council has now only agreed one statement, which has a lower standing, on the Syrian crisis since protests erupted in March last year.

After the earlier veto, western nations said they made substantial concessions taking out references to an arms embargo, Arab League sanctions and backing for Arab League calls for Assad to hand over power to a deputy.

Diplomats said Russia demanded new changes to the text on Saturday morning so that the withdrawal of Syrian troops from cities should be linked to an end to attacks by opposition groups.

It was “unbelievably cynical,” said one European diplomat, of the changes requested.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin justified his veto by saying the proposed resolution “sent an unbalanced signal to the Syrian parties.”

Western nations backing the resolution had since the start of the Syria crisis been “undermining the opportunity for a political settlement, calling for regime change, pushing the opposition towards power,” he added.

Li Baodong, China’s UN representative, backed Russia’s call for new changes. “To push through a vote when parties are still seriously divided over the issue will not help maintain the unity and authority of the Security Council, or help resolve the issue,” he told the council.

But there was widespread condemnation of the new veto from the European and Arab countries behind the resolution, the United States and UN leadership.

“I would like to express our great regret and disappointment” at the veto, said Morocco’s UN ambassador Mohammed Loulichki, whose country is the Arab member of the 15-member council.

Western ambassadors highlighted the concessions made to Russia in weeks of negotiations on the draft text.

“It is a disgrace for the council,” said Germany’s UN envoy Peter Wittig.

France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud noted how the debate was held on the thirtieth anniversary of a massacre in the Syrian city of Hama in which tens of thousands died under Assad’s father, Hafez.

“Father and son are killing; it would seem to be hereditary in Damascus,” he said.

India and South Africa which abstained in the October vote, backed the latest resolution. Pakistan was also among council members to back the resolution.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon deeply regrets the failure to agree a resolution, said his spokesman Martin Nesirky.

“It undermines the role of the United Nations and the international community in this period when the Syrian authorities must hear a unified voice calling for an immediate end to its violence against the Syrian people,” Ban said.

Many ambassadors predicted that a new effort would be made to agree UN action.

India’s UN envoy Hardeep Singh Puri said Russia had wanted to wait three days for a vote “but with the spiralling violence, the council was not in the mood.”

He told reporters that the message of the 13-2 vote was clear: “That text is not going to go away.”

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Feb 5, 2012 - 1:26AM

    “Why Russia protects Syria’s Assad”? answer lies in Why does America protect Israel, Saudi Arabia


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 1:30AM

    Here’s some advice to America: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and worry about your own people.


  • Fahad Raza
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:42AM

    Wait a minute… Why did we back the resolution??? Why cant we mind our own Bussiness??
    I feel for the people of Syria but backing a resolution to take sides is Trampling someone else’s sovereignty.
    Thank you Russia China. God Bless The Veto you both have done.


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 1:43AM

    This whole situation in Syria is because Russia has a naval base there, and the US wants to take it over. That is the reason the US is backing the insurgency, and why Russia is backing Assad’s regime. This has nothing to do with human rights. It’s a proxy war between the US and Russia.


  • Mj
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:44AM

    Do China and Russia really want to side with one of the most brutal dictators of 21st century just to score some points against the West? 200 people were killed in a single day in Syria and even that was not enough to change their stance.


  • azhar
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:51AM

    funny how the hundreds of violations by israel and US vrtoes never ‘undermine’ the UNRecommend

  • Alami Musafir
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:58AM

    A lesson for Pakistan from this affair is the spinelessness of “our Arab brothers”, who willingly sacrifice one of their own to please the West. This happened in Iraq, Libya and now Syria. Its a foretaste of what will happen to Pakistan. Perhaps its time to reassess who to ally ourselves with in the Middle East. Another remarkable feature of this episode is the unity of Russia and China. Sino-Russian cooperation has for the first time defeated the West and its stooges.


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Good Job Russia and china, we don’t want any other country to become Libya


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 2:02AM

    Pakistan should have vetoed too


  • Sohaib
    Feb 5, 2012 - 2:03AM

    I wonder why we supported the resolution. Doesnt the world especially Pakistan, feel why Rafiq Hariris murder was blamed on Syria and what has UN done with Libya?


  • Malik Rashid
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:28AM

    Resolution vetoed: Syrians killed by Russia, China at the UN.


  • CK
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:38AM

    Pakistan should have abstained.


  • John B
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:56AM

    @Alami Musafir:
    Welcome to the real world. When it comes to each nation’s security and self interest there is no more ethnic brotherhood or religious brotherhood. Same goes for Afghanistan and Pakistan and went between Pakistan -Bangladesh.

    Why should agnostic China and Russia side with Syria while religious brotherhood PAK voted with infidel west and India? Collective self interest on various levels, on both sides.

    At the end of the day Peace is essential in the region.


  • gp65
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:16AM

    @Ambreen: “Pakistan should have vetoed too”

    Pakistan has a vote and it COULD have voted against the resolution (instead of what it did i.e. vote for the resolution). It does not however have a veto. Only 5 countries have a veto : US, Russia, China, UK, France.


  • Iron hand
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:26AM

    The posters here are so caught up on their anti-Americanism that they can’t even fathom that the West is trying to stop innocent Syrians being slaughtered by their government.


  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:40AM

    Your headline is wrong and unjust. A country belongs to its people; so Syria has not been saved by the vetoes. Rather, the cold-blooded killer of the people of Syria and his gang of thugs have been saved — albeit, temporarily. The vetoes constitute a stab in the back of the people of Syria and a disgusting attempt to save a horrible dictator and his equally obnoxious fellow killers. Shame on you Russia; shame on you China! The great people of Syria will succeed, and their dictator will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:47AM

    Syria was actually behind that murder.


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:59AM

    Very interesting. Who would have thought?

    Pakistan taking a stand that is opposed to the stand taken by China.

    India taking a stand that is opposed to the stand taken by Russia.

    Pakistan and India taking the same stand held by USA, UK, France, Arabs and the West in general, which also is the same as held by Israel.


  • frank
    Feb 5, 2012 - 5:00AM

    It really is disgusting how cynically the US and UK use ‘human rights’ to further what are plainly and blatantly selfish, strategic goals. Do they think the rest of us are totally stupid? Why is it never ‘disgraceful’ when the US vetoes resolutions condemning Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians?


  • Cautious
    Feb 5, 2012 - 5:07AM

    Syria is shelling it’s own people and the anti American brigade blames America for supporting a resolution which condemns Assad – your bias is showing.. Everyone except China and Russia support this resolution – and everyone includes all the Arab Nations. Even Pakistan and India share the same disdain for Assad’s behavior.


  • Ali
    Feb 5, 2012 - 5:12AM

    US is feeling pain now eh?
    Getting taste now for what US has doing with all the resolutions against israel.

    tbh, UN security council is a joke


  • Nadir
    Feb 5, 2012 - 5:49AM

    So the people of Syria should be butchered, and the people of Pakistan thank China and Russia, just so that America can be seen to be defeated?


  • Sajid I Brrr.
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:01AM

    We supported the resolution because because the dictator is Shia. We wouldn’t support such a resolution in Bahrain because there the power is in a Sunni’s hand, instead, we rent our retired Sipahis to Bahrain to crush their Shia people. How hard is it to understand this? However, if you wish not to understand than that’s a different story.


  • MarkH
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:11AM

    I love how UN seems to always translate to the US in Pakistan. Oh, and Mr. Colonel, do you really believe conspiracy theories make you look smart and credible? Because if you’re a Colonel and that’s all you got, I guess the Pakistani Army really does need quality checks in all ranks desperately. It means they’d make decisions based on wild, fallacy-ridden theories aka blunders. Oh, wait, they do. Make sure to keep spreading that admirable image.


  • Rafaqat
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:13AM


    Clearly, you do not realise that the privilege of veto is restricted to a small number of countries. In any case, Pakistan did absolutely the right thing. Why support a despotic regime ? We should be supporting syrian people and that is exactly what Government of Pakistan has done.


  • Jehanzeb
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:35AM

    I am glad Pakistan supported the resolution against a tyrant who has been brutal in crushing an uprising against his dynastic rule. People matter, not dictators. Pakistan rightly decided it is with Syrian people, not with an autocrat. Assad is repeating in many cities of Syria what his father did in Hama in 1982. Would we expect the world to standby if a dictator in Pakistan goes about killing hundreds in Pakistani streets? Remember we stood up even against the dismissal of the Chief Justice – a much lesser crime – by a dictator.


  • ZalmoMayaArahiHai
    Feb 5, 2012 - 6:51AM

    @Ambreen only permanent members of the UNSC have the right to veto resolutions. Pakistan is not a permanent member and the best they could so was to abstain from the voting which they should have done. As they say, don’t throw stones out of a glass house. What if the next resolution is against the atrocities committed by Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan?


  • Ashraf P
    Feb 5, 2012 - 7:57AM

    Why does the Islamic world look to the West for any action? What is the useless OIC doing? Where is the so-called “Muslim Ummah”? When it comes to criticism the Muslim world is quick to point a finger at the West but when fellow Muslims are massacred at the hands of Muslims, they clam up. Pure unadulterated hypocrisy !


  • Homa
    Feb 5, 2012 - 7:58AM

    Meaninwhile syria will keep killing its muslim civilian population…while pakistani public praises russia and china. How ironic. Their heart bleeds only for kashmir.


  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 5, 2012 - 8:29AM

    @Malik Rashid:
    That’s the reality; excellent comment. Shame on Russia and China


  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 5, 2012 - 8:32AM

    Syria was in fact behind the murder of Hariri.


  • narayana murthy
    Feb 5, 2012 - 8:37AM

    @Ambreen who writes “Pakistan should have vetoed too”

    Pakistan has no right to veto.


  • Rizwan
    Feb 5, 2012 - 9:19AM

    Well done china and Russia


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 9:51AM

    Karma will catch up with Pakistan soon. First Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Sudan, then Yemen, then Libya, and now Syria is being invaded and destroyed by Imperial forces of UK, US and their puppets Arab League We are siding with tyrants and we should be ready for punishment.


  • Akhtar
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:28AM

    Frankly Pakistan support typically shows the Sunni mindset with in the establishment. This is a power struggle between minority Shia in power in syria. Am not a Sunni, & would have been happy if our government abstained from voting. But Iran & Syria are the last 2 bastions relatively safe for Shias. Iraq was a safer place during sad dam, not any more.


  • faraz
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:34AM

    Turkey and Saudi Arab are paving way for NATO intervention in Syria


  • Sikandar Khokhar
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:40AM

    Pakistan is reaping itz fruit of western loyalty, in the shape of Drone attacks and Salasa Base detonations…What is very need of supporting Un n Us at the cost of their own Muslim identity??


  • Greame
    Feb 5, 2012 - 10:45AM

    The Japanese have a saying: “The nail that sticks out gets beaten down.”:

    …that vote was brave, even foolhardy, of Yemen. A member of the U.S. delegation candidly told the Yemeni ambassador that it was “the most expensive vote you ever cast,” and indeed it was, and might even play a part in the chaos there today. Not only did Washington cut off its $70 million foreign aid program, but the Saudis also abandoned their long-standing treaty with Yemen which allowed its nationals preferential treatment as immigrant workers. The Kingdom and the Gulf states brusquely repatriated a million or so Yemenis, whose missing remittances over the past two decades have contributed to the poverty and underdevelopment of the state.


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 11:26AM

    @narayana murthy:
    Currently Pakistan is also a member of UN Security Council


  • Jehanzeb
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:38AM

    Just like Saddam (rule of a Tikriti family on whole country), Ghadhafi (a tribal clique ruling Libya) and Mubarak (an autocrats) were not represtatives of their countries, Assad does not represent Syria. There is more to Syria that the ruling Alwaites family.

    Pakistan, for once, rightly decided to side with millions of Syrian than a tyrant. Otherwise, we will be approving the massacre of hundreds demanding democracy.Being a leading democratic country we should support ‘demos’, people.


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 11:42AM


    it Could vote against it but Couldnt veto


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 11:43AM

    America and Russia and China have their own Interests, small countries should not take part in this proxy war, its a war of just interests

    Please refer to Colonel’s comments


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 11:47AM

    USA is just trying to make another client state, We dont want Syria to become Libya


  • Indian
    Feb 5, 2012 - 12:08PM

    Do you have any idea who can veto???


  • Munir Varraich
    Feb 5, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Pakistan must have an independant foreign policy. Abstaining was the best step.


  • j. von hettlingen
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:07PM

    China and Russia joined forces to demonstrate their anti-West stance to the displeasure of the Arab World. While Russia is not dependent on oil from the Middle East, China does. Nevertheless the two powerful members of the Security Council might have their own plan on dealing with the crisis, that might not be in the interest of the Syrian people.


  • V K Bajaj (Delhi)
    Feb 5, 2012 - 3:15PM

    In the past also USSR and China supported Iraq, Eqypt, Libya etc. but ultimately USA inc have had their way. Once the USA, UK, France, Italy, German etc. have come out against Syria they will manage to come over USSR and China.

    It remains only to see as who falls first SYRIA or IRAN.


  • Feb 5, 2012 - 4:07PM

    Intervening in civil wars is not a good idea.

    That is what India did in E.Pakistan.

    A comprehensive peace taking care of both Iran and Syria is the right path.


  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 5, 2012 - 9:47PM

    @Sajid I Brrr.:
    Good point.


  • Farhan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:07AM


    Ok. your point is just as far as a dictator killing people in Syria. Tell me one thing, what about the regimes that have killed scores of people in yemen and other arab countries to crush peoples voice and the US have supported them?

    International community is not doing anything just to suppress Syrian regime but at the same time silent over Yemen and Bahrain, where the regimes are Pro-US.


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