UN: Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Thirteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the resolution aimed to stop the violence in Syria.
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government’s 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.
The West has been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”
Russia, one of President al-Assad’s firm supporters during the uprising against his regime, indicated earlier this week that it would veto the draft resolution calling on Assad to step down. Moscow has proposed its own draft, which the West criticized as being too soft.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Saturday he and Foreign Intelligence Service head Mikhail Fradkov will visit Syria and meet with President Bashar Assad on February 7.
The visit will be made on instructions from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Lavrov did not reveal any details of the upcoming the visit.
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