x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Sad day for Syrians and UN' after 'targeted measures' veto

The French foreign minister criticises China and Russia for their decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution targeting Syria.

Anti-Assad protesters flash V-victory signs as a woman uses her hands to display the Arabic word reading: 'leave', during a demonstration in Syria. Business chiefs are now attempting to overturn an imports ban as more international economic sanctions loom against the embattled Assad regime.
Anti-Assad protesters flash V-victory signs as a woman uses her hands to display the Arabic word reading: 'leave', during a demonstration in Syria. Business chiefs are now attempting to overturn an imports ban as more international economic sanctions loom against the embattled Assad regime.

PARIS // The decision by Russia and China to veto a UN Security Council resolution targeting Syria marked a "sad day for the Syrian people" and for the council itself, France said today.

"The Security Council should not remain silent in the face of the Syrian tragedy," the foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said in a statement, after the veto blocked the European call for "targeted measures" against Damascus.

"It should raise its voice against a dictator who is massacring his people and seeking to stifle the Syrians legitimate hope for democracy."

"France, with its partners, tried everything to offer the Security Council a text that was strong but which addressed the concerns of all. Some decided to impose their veto," he explained.

"It's a sad day for the Syrian people. It's a sad day for the Security Council. The Syrian democrats' struggle for freedom is a just cause. France will continue to support it firmly, with all the countries that wish to."

After nearly six months of negotiations, nine of 15 Council members voted for the text, drawn up by France with Britain, Germany and Portugal.

It urged action if Syria's President Bashar Al Assad does not halt attacks on demonstrators, which the UN says have left at least 2,700 dead.

As permanent members of the council, Russia and China used their veto to kill the resolution. South Africa, India, Brazil and Lebanon abstained.