Britain attacks China and Russia veto of Syria resolution

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Russia and China's decision to veto a UN resolution aimed at ending Syria's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests is a "bitter blow" to the Syrian people, Britain said Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was disappointed by the move and that the two nations would have to live with the consequences of any further violence.

"I am of course disappointed by Russia and China's decision," he said in a statement.

"This will be seen in the region as a decision to side with a brutal regime rather than with the people of Syria, and will be a bitter blow to all those Syrians who have implored the international community to take a stand," he added.

Hague argued that the resolution, introduced by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, was "carefully drafted and entirely reasonable" and called for both sides to renounce violence.

The former Conservative party leader vowed to "stand side by side with the Syrian people" in the face of "horrific abuses" committed by President Bashar al-Assad against civilians.

"Those who blocked it will have this action on their conscience," he added.

Nine countries voted for the text but the resolution was killed due to the veto power of Russia and China as permanent members of the council.

South Africa, India, Brazil and Lebanon abstained, following weeks of efforts by the western powers to get them behind the campaign to condemn Assad's crackdown, which the UN says has left at least 2,700 dead.

The 15 Security Council members have been negotiating various versions of a resolution for more than three months. European demands for immediate sanctions against Assad and his entourage had already been dropped in a bid to get a text passed.

So far the council has only agreed two statements on the violence.

© 2011 AFP

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