Russia and China have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions over use of deadly force against civilians in the ongoing conflict.
The vote was held on Thursday, with 11 countries voting in favour, two against, and two more abstaining. It is the third resolution to be vetoed by the two countries, both Syria’s key allies, in nine months.
The Security Council comprises 15 members, five of which are permanent members with powers to veto resolutions.
“The United Kingdom is appalled at the veto of Russia and China,” said Britain’s UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant, whose country took the lead in writing up the resolution.
The United States condemned the move as a “highly regrettable decision”.
It is a “mistake to prop up that regime”, said Jay Carney, President Barack Obama’s spokesman, at a White House briefing shortly after the resolution was vetoed. The vetoed resolution would have extended a UN observer mission in Syria for 45 days. The mission has been largely ineffectual as its work had to depend on a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, but which never materialised.