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• Expressed concern about the situation in Syria and the potential for further escalation of violence.

• Condemned the Syrian authorities for systematic human rights violations and the use of force against civilians and called on the regime to stop.

The resolution said the only solution to the crisis is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that addresses the “legitimate aspirations” of the people.

Russia and China have been reluctant to support a tougher line against the Assad regime, citing concerns about Syria’s sovereignty.

“The blame is on [Russia and China], not on us,” said the Western diplomat, defending the absence of stronger language in the European draft.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had worked closely on the issue of Russian support for the U.N. resolution.

“The Russians have to make their own decisions,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said before the vote. “They have to think hard about whether the Security Council is going to be effective here in sending a strong message to a bloody, bloody regime.”

China shares Russia’s concerns about Syrian sovereignty.

“The international community should respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, take a cautious approach in dealing with the Syrian issue so as to prevent the situation from becoming further turbulent and regional peace and stability being endangered,” said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Hamdi Rifai, director of Arab Americans for Democracy in Syria, said Syrian activists had traveled to Russia in July to seek the government’s support for a strong U.N. resolution.

“That seems to have been a wasted effort,” he said.

“The fact that a few nations can hold back the whole world doesn’t bode well for the U.N., and it especially doesn’t bode well for the Syrian people,” he added.

In March, Russia and China abstained from voting on a U.N. resolution that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and tightened sanctions on Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

Western officials said there is no prospect of the Security Council approving similar action in Syria.

“Morally, there is a great similarity between [the situation in Libya and that in Syria], but there is no practical prospect of getting a mandate for military action,” the Western diplomat said.

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