Russia And China Veto UNSC Resolution On Syria

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Context

China and Russia vetoed the UN Security Council resolution that condemns Assad’s crackdown and backs Arab League plan calling for Bashar Assad to step aside. Both reiterated their opposition to the use of force to resolve the Syrian crisis, where escalating violence has killed thousands of civilians as the regime has cracked down on dissidents. The other 13 members that include US, UK, France, India and Pakistan, voted in favor of the resolution. Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby was pressing the Council to take swift and decisive action. On the other hand, Syrian UN ambassador dismissed the criticism against the regime, calling it the dream of western powers to return to colonialism and hegemony.

Analysis

Russian envoy to the EU had objected to the language of the Western-Arab UN Security Council resolution, calling for ‘unspecified measures’, if President Bashar does not cede power. Russia wanted a clear clause that rules out the possibility of external military intervention.

Russia had further stated that it will not support any action that is imposed on Syria; moreover, it will not take sides as had happened in the case of Libya. Sergei Lavrov had earlier commented that armed extremists disrupting the civic life are equally condemnable as the use of violence by the government. Additionally, Lavrov had warned that the regime change will not be restricted to Syria only, and it would spread.

China had also resisted Western push for the Security Council resolution, calling the forced regime change a violation of the United Nations Charter and the basic norms guiding the practice of international relations.

Meanwhile, Washington has maintained that the fall of Assad’s regime is inevitable, and it’s only a question of time. The opposition Syrian National Council has deplored the ‘lack of swift’ action by the international community and to protect the Syrian citizens ‘by all necessary means’. The rebel Free Syrian Army has claimed fifty percent of territory is no longer under the control of the regime, while CIA director David Petraeus has said that Assad now faced challenges in Damascus and Aleppo, two cities that had been insulated from the unrest.