UNITED NATIONS — Russia and China cast a rare double veto at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to block a U.S.- and European-backed draft resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown on protesters.
The veto marked a defeat after months of European-led diplomatic efforts to impose sanctions on Damascus for unleashing a violent response to the protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, reacted to the veto with a smile and thanked the “voices of the wise” who had confronted what he characterized as colonial and military aspirations of Western powers that are “doomed to failure.”
The vote triggered an angry reaction from Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who walked out of the Security Council meeting in protest during the Syrian envoy’s statement, in which he accused the United States of being a “party to genocide” through its support of Israel on the council. The British envoy, Mark Lyall Grant, walked out some time after Rice.