The US has described as “dangerous and deplorable” Russia and China’s veto of the latest United Nations resolution on the crisis in Syria.
Washington’s Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice led a chorus of Western outrage following the two countries’ third veto in nine months.
The resolution could have paved the way for international military action.
“One can only hope that one day, before too many thousands more die, that Russia and China will stop protecting Assad and allow this Council to play its proper role,” Rice said.
The US suggested it would now act outside of the UN to confront the Syrian regime.
Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin hit back at the reaction, saying that Western nations planned to “fan the flames of violence” with the use of military force.
“(A) major geo-political battle is being fought on the fields of Syria which has nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people who are not interested in being the objects of this kind of geo-political competition. So it’s so very sad,” he said.
The Security Council must now decide by Saturday morning European time the fate of the UN observer mission in Syria. It could see its work shift towards pursuing a political solution to the crisis.