Russia rejects criticism over UN Syria veto

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July 20, 2012, 3:02 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Reuters

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also criticised U.S. plans to work with unnamed partners outside the U.N. Security Council to step up pressure on Syria's government.


MOSCOW - Russia dismissed international criticism of its veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria as "absolutely unacceptable" and urged Western nations on Friday to persuade rebels to stop fighting.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also criticised U.S. plans to work with unnamed partners outside the U.N. Security Council to step up pressure on Syria's government.

Russia and China both vetoed of a draft resolution on Thursday that would have threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt their violent crackdown on a 16-month-old revolution.

Western nations condemned the vetoes and Britain's U.N. envoy said Russia and China's action effectively " a brutal regime".

Lukashevich rejected the criticism. "Instead of making crude insinuations about Russian policy ... our Western partners should do at least something to encourage the militant opposition to step onto the path of a political settlement," Lukashevich said.

The veto was the third time Russia and China have blocked Western efforts to increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said after the veto that the United States would "intensify our work with a diverse range of partners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Assad regime" and deliver aid.

Lukashevich said: "If such declarations and such plans are elements of actual policy, I think that is a very, very alarming signal to all of us about how the international community plans to respond to international conflict situations."  

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