Syria: 48 dead as West condemns Russia, China veto
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has tried to explain Russia's veto against the Arab - Western UN Security Council resolution on Syria. According to Russia's top diplomat, one of the problems with the draft, is the demand for Syrian authorities to withdraw their forces from all towns. In fact, it calls for the legitimate government to unilaterally withdraw from cities and villages and hand them over to "illegal armed groups," he said. The Russian delegation, according to Lavrov, has offered a "complete and natural draft," including the cessation of violence by armed groups.
Meanwhile, the veto by China and Russia drew sharp criticism from the West. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated the Russian-Chinese veto forces them "to take responsibility for the horrors that occur in Syria." "Without a joint action by the international community, I fear that the end will be a civil war," she said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy "strongly deplored" the double veto and said that "Syria must stop the tragedy".
Moscow and Beijing, in vetoing, "bear a terrible responsibility", said the French foreign minister Alain Juppe.
British Foreign Minister William Hague has accused Russia and China of "abandoning" the Syrian people and "encouraging the brutal regime of President (Bashar) Assad to commit more killings as was done in Homs ".
On his part, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret that the role of the UN is "gated".
On the ground, the violence in Syria continues. At least 48 people have died since Saturday, including 24 civilians and 18 soldiers of the official army. Six deserters were also killed in clashes, according to opposition sources.