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Russia, China veto UN resolution on Syrian conflict

A former Syrian information minister said on Sunday that Syrians must seize the initiative to end the 11-month unrest after a U.N. resolution on the conflict was vetoed.

Russia and China vetoed the resolution backing an Arab plan calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit.

But Mohammed Salman, who last year announced an initiative for political transition, said the Syrian people must use the veto as an opportunity to find a solution themselves.
         
“The people in Syria must use this veto as a last hope to create a solution. All the factions of the opposition must work together with the components of the Syrian crisis to find a method that is acceptable within and outside Syria to end the crisis,” Salman told Reuters.
         
“It’s not accepting or refusing a veto, it’s about the crisis — the national crisis we are experiencing in Syria. This crisis is a crisis of the regime, a crisis of opposition factions, a crisis of people, and of security in Syria,” Salman said.
         
There has been widespread international criticism of Russia’s support for Assad whose crackdown on protest areas has left thousands dead.

The Syrian government says it is cracking down on “armed gangs”.

The veto came a day after activists said Syrian forces bombarded the city of Homs, killing more than 200 people in the worst night of bloodshed of the 11-month uprising.

Russia said the resolution was biased and would have meant taking sides in a civil war. Syria is Moscow’s rare ally in the Middle East, home to a Russian naval base and a customer for its arms.

China’s veto was widely seen as following Russia’s lead.