Russia, China veto U.N. resolution on Syria; more than 250 killed in Homs
Russia and China on Saturday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that sought to stop the Syrian regime’s brutal crackdown on an 11-month uprising as activists reported that Syrian security forces had “massacred” more than 250 people using mortar shells, tanks and snipers in the western city of Homs.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., defended his country’s veto saying the draft resolution did not reflect Russian proposals that the Syrian opposition distance itself from “extremist groups” and that these groups end their attacks on state institutions.
The resolution did not “adequately reflect” the real state of affairs in Syria and has sent “an unbalanced signal to the Syrian parties,” he said.
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Ms. Rice said the revised draft “more than accommodates” the concerns of its critics who worried about the use of force and sanctions.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will travel with Russian foreign intelligence service chief Mikhail Fradkov to Syria on Tuesday to meet with Mr. Assad. Mr. Lavrov met Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Munich earlier on Saturday to discuss developments in Syria.
Ms. Rice said opponents of the Security Council resolution “stand behind empty arguments and individual interests while delaying and seeking to strip bare any text that would pressure Assad to change his actions.”
The draft text supported an Arab League plan toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Meanwhile, sources in Syria said more than 900 people had been wounded in the assault on the battered city. The death toll was expected to escalate as doctors faced an acute shortage of medical supplies and blood for transfusions. Video clips depicted chaotic scenes and a number of dead and wounded.
President Obama issued a sharply worded statement on Saturday in which he condemned the Assad regime’s “unspeakable assault against the people of Homs” and accused it of murdering hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children.
Syrians demonstrated in large numbers across the country on Friday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the massacre in the city of Hama by the regime under Mr. Assad’s father, Hafez Assad.
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