China, Russia Block UN Resolution Imposing Sanctions on Syria

828797 08.12.1988 Генеральный секретарь ЦК КПСС, Председатель Президиума Верховного Совета СССР Михаил Сергеевич Горбачев выступает на сессии Генеральной ассамблеи ООН во время официального визита в США. Юрий Абрамочкин/РИА Новости

A United Nations Security Council sat down Tuesday to vote on a resolution regarding the Syrian War. Unfortunately, the meeting did not go as planned. Instead of passing a resolution that serves the good of the entire world’s nations, it was blocked by two superpowers: Russia and China.

The UN resolution, which had been drafted by the United States, The United Kingdom, and France, would have “banned the sale of helicopters to Syria and would have led to sanctions against 11 Syrian commanders or officials, and 10 groups linked to the chemical attacks,” a BBC News report wrote.

The resolution comes after many years of devastating civil unrest and political instability in Syria, along with an investigation into President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. A grim and harrowing accusation, though one it vehemently denies.

The investigation, spearheaded by the UN and international chemical weapons watchdog, found that Assad’s regime carried out three chemical weapons attacks 2014 and 2015.

The investigation revealed that the Syrian government used air force helicopters to drop chlorine gas on areas held by rebels, once in April 2014 and twice in March 2015.

Under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, the use of chlorine as a weapon is strictly prohibited.

ISIS militants had also used sulphur mustard gas in a separate attack, the reports said.

With these serious findings in mind, the UN council set to impose sanctions on Syria, understandably. Nine security council member countries voted in favor of the resolution, while Bolivia, Russia, and China voted ‘nay’. Egypt Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia abstained.

A Security Council resolution requires nine votes to pass, and no vetoes from the five permanent member nations (the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China).  Both China and Russia did veto the resolution, rendering it invalid. Thus this vital and pertinent resolution did not pass.

So why did Russia and China block the resolution?

Russia has long-standing ties to Syria; in fact, many Syrian military officers are trained using and equipped by Russia, the BBC reports. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that sanctions against Syria would be “totally inappropriate”, commenting further that “it would only hurt or undermine confidence” in peace talks.

As for China, another gargantuan military force in the world, has said in the past that it has a long-standing policy for non-intervention in other nations’ affairs – even those as grim as the Syrian War and its gruesome attacks on its own people.

According to BBC, China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, said the Chinese government does oppose the use of chemical weapons, but Beijing believes it is too soon to impose sanctions due to ongoing investigations.

Many country-heads – and rightfully so – are upset and deeply concerned with China and Russia’s veto votes during the meeting. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said: “It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people.

“They put their friends in the Assad regime ahead of our global security… the world is definitely a more dangerous place.”

“Not taking action against chemical weapons’ use undermines confidence in the international community’s ability to tackle flagrant violations of international law – and undermines the trust of Syrians affected by these horrific attacks,” added UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft.