Russia, China veto UN Security Council resolution on Syria

BEIRUT, Lebanon — US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Washington was "disgusted" by Russia and China's veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the violence in Syria and calling for president Bashar al-Assad to step down, the Associated Press reported.

The Arab League ended its observer mission in Syria last week and backed the resolution.

The double-veto outraged the US and its European allies. Rice said "any further bloodshed that flows will be on their hands," adding "the courageous people of Syria can see which members of the council support their fight and which do not," according to Al Jazeera.

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep regret" calling the vetos "a great disappointment to the people of Syria and the Middle East, and to all supporters of democracy and human rights."

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the vote that he was encouraged by statements about "the intention to continue diplomatic efforts" and that the Security Council is "not the only diplomatic tool on the planet, " according to the AP.

The 13-2 vote came as Syrian government forces shelled the city of Homs, according to activists. Widely reported casualty figures initially reported over 200 dead, but an update from the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group, at 12:12 PM EST listed the Saturday dead in Homs at 61. The final count is still unclear. 

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Over 200 killed in Homs in bloodiest military attack yet, activists say

Also on Saturday the Tunisian government announced it was rescinding recognition of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Reuters reported that cheers erupted as the Syrian embassy in Tunis lowered its flag. 

Shortly after the vote, the Syrian government news organization SANA posted on its English language Twitter feed: "#Syria Event Calendar 4th February 2012: Happy Hour 2 for 1 Drinks at Mood Lounge, #Damascus"

Anne Marie Slaughter, a political analyst at Princeton, tweeted Saturday: "In Kosovo NATO acted w/o UNSC approval but got it after the fact. Arab League may have to do same; #Syria is in their neighborhood."

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