China, Russia veto Myanmar resolution

( /Agencies)
Updated: 2007-01-13 11:02

China and Russia on Friday vetoed a US resolution calling on Myanmar government to stop persecution of opposition groups, killing the measure in the UN Security Council.

The vote was 9-3 in favor, with three abstentions. Two of the negative votes came from permanent members with veto rights.

Both Russia and China, which had not cast a double veto since 1972, made the point the United States needed to listen to their complaints carefully. They argued that human rights problems were not the purview of the Security Council unless they endangered regional or international peace and security, which Myanmar did not.

"I hope some of our partners also learned some lessons in the course of this entire process," Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said. China's envoy Wang Guangya told reporters the United States acted like it was the only permanent council member.

South Africa also voted "no," while Qatar, Indonesia and Congo Republic abstained. Voting with Washington were Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Ghana, Peru, Panama and Slovakia.

The US drafted resolution urged Myanmar to release all political prisoners, move toward democracy and stop forced labor.

Myanmar's UN ambassador, Kyaw Tint Swe, said cooperating with the United Nations was the cornerstone of Myanmar's foreign policy.

'"Myanmar must respond to the imperative of restoring democracy and respect for human rights -- that is a matter of principle," Indonesian Ambassador Rezlan Ishar Jenie said. "But it is a matter of principle ... whether this council is the appropriate body to address the problem of Myanmar."

Beijing has used its veto four times in the past, the last time in February 1999 on extending a peacekeeping force in Macedonia because of the Balkan nation's ties with Taiwan. Russia last used its veto in April 2004 on a Cyprus resolution.

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