Friday, 20 July 2012 11:09
BEIJING: A top Chinese newspaper on Friday accused the West of seeking a green light for military intervention in Syria, after Beijing and Moscow blocked a UN resolution threatening sanctions against Damascus.
Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he did not end the use of heavy weapons against an uprising, drawing sharp criticism from Western powers.
"Frankly speaking, Western countries attempted to push the United Nations to vote for the sanction resolution in order to get the green light for their military intervention," said the People's Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party.
The paper's comments echoed those of Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who said the resolution aimed to "open the path to the pressure of sanctions and further to external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs."
It was the third time in nine months that Russia and China wielded their veto power. As two of the five permanent members of the 15-nation council, the two countries can block any UN resolution.
The veto drew swift criticism from other permanent council members. Britain was "appalled" by the vetos, said the country's UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant, while US President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said the vetos were "highly regrettable" and called it a "mistake to prop up that regime".
World powers have so far failed to secure international action to halt the conflict in Syria, part of a series of revolts in the Arab world that have seem changes of government in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Analysts say China's intransigence may stem from its discomfort with Western military action after last year's uprising in Libya, which eventually led to the fall of leader Moamer Kadhafi.
China consistently opposed military action in Libya within the 15-member Security Council, but did not use its veto to block the March 2011 resolution authorising the operation, instead abstaining in the vote. But it believes the West misinterpreted the resolution and went too far.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012