China, Russia vetoes UN Syria resolution

United Nations: Russia and China today vetoed an Arab League-backed resolution at the UNSC that called on the Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, while India along with the US and 12 others backed the move.

France, Britain and Pakistan also voted in favor of the resolution aimed at putting pressure on Syria to end its 11-month-long crackdown on anti-government protests that has killed more than 200 people in one of the bloodiest episodes of the uprising against Assad`s regime.

This is the second time that Russia and China have carried out their double veto after the first one on October 5.

Voting in favour of the UNSC resolution, India said it supported the effort of the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the 11-month-old Syrian crisis.

"Our support for the Resolution is in accordance with our support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process," said Hardeep Singh Puri, the Indian Ambassador to the UN.

Explaining the reasons for India`s position on Syria, Puri told the powerful 15-member body that New Delhi believes that the leadership of Syria is a matter for the Syrian people to decide.

"It would be necessary for all opposition forces in Syria to peacefully engage in constructive dialogue with the authorities. We hope that this will create a new environment for peace and facilitate a political process," he underlined.

He said this political dialogue should build upon the "political reforms already announced by the Syrian leadership with necessary changes so that they find acceptance among all sections of Syrian society".

American Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the US is disgusted that "a couple of members of this Council continue to prevent us from fulfilling our sole purpose here-addressing an ever-deepening crisis in Syria and a growing threat to regional peace and security."

"Since these two members last vetoed a resolution on Syria, an estimated 3,000 more civilians have been killed.

Another almost 250 killed just yesterday," she said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he deeply regrets that the Council "has been unable to agree on a resolution supported by the League of Arab States to bring an early end to the violence and the killing in Syria."

"This is a great disappointment to the people of Syria and the Middle East, and to all supporters of democracy and human rights," he said in a statement.

He said it undermines the role of the UN 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."

"In spite of today?s vote, the international community and the Syrian people must redouble our efforts to seek a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system," the UN chief said, underlining that it has now become "even more urgent".

Ban said the UN stands ready to step up its efforts to work closely with the Arab League and others in the international community to find a peaceful and durable solution which will bring the violence and the killing in Syria to a halt.

Ahead of the vote, President Barack Obama blamed the Syrian government of "unspeakable assault" on its civilians in the city of Homs, as he demanded that President Bashar Assad step down.

"I strongly condemn the Syrian government`s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones," Obama said in Washington.

Expressing concern over the present situation in Syria, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and security forces personnel over the last 11 months, Indian envoy Puri said since the beginning of the protest, New Delhi has called for a peaceful and inclusive political process to address the grievances of all sections of Syrian society.

"We strongly condemn all violence, irrespective of whoever the perpetrators are. We also condemn all violations of human rights. India holds the rights of expression and peaceful assembly among the fundamental values that should be respected, while ensuring stability and security of the society," Puri underlined.

He said India has conveyed this message to the Syrian leadership, both bilaterally as well as along with its IBSA partners.

"We have impressed upon the Syrian side to abjure violence and pay heed to the aspirations of the people of Syria. This message was also contained in the Council`s PRST issued in August 2011 under India`s Presidency," the top Indian envoy said.

India, Puri said, is firmly of the view that a political process for resolution of the present crisis should be led by the Syrians themselves.

?We believe that the main role of the international community, including this Council, is to facilitate engagement of the Syrian Government with all sections of Syrian society for an inclusive political process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians while ensuring respect for the country`s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity," Puri underlined.

Expressing concern over the present situation in Syria, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and security forces personnel over the last 11 months, Indian envoy Puri said since the beginning of the protest, New Delhi has called for a peaceful and inclusive political process to address the grievances of all sections of Syrian society.

"We strongly condemn all violence, irrespective of whoever the perpetrators are. We also condemn all violations of human rights. India holds the rights of expression and peaceful assembly among the fundamental values that should be respected, while ensuring stability and security of the society," Puri underlined.

He said India has conveyed this message to the Syrian leadership, both bilaterally as well as along with its IBSA partners.

"We have impressed upon the Syrian side to abjure violence and pay heed to the aspirations of the people of Syria. This message was also contained in the Council`s PRST issued in August 2011 under India`s Presidency," the top Indian envoy said.

India, Puri said, is firmly of the view that a political process for resolution of the present crisis should be led by the Syrians themselves.

We believe that the main role of the international community, including this Council, is to facilitate engagement of the Syrian Government with all sections of Syrian society for an inclusive political process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians while ensuring respect for the country`s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity," Puri underlined.