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China, Russia veto Syria resolution as Turkey threatens unilateral sanctions

A UN Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Syria has been vetoed by Russia and China.

The resolution, proposed by Britain, Portugal, Germany, France and the US, had been watered down three times before its proposal, to address concerns by Russia and China that, if passed, it might pave the way for another military intervention.

Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa have argued that the resolution passed on Libya was used as a pretext to aid the removal of Gaddafi, although the resolution only authorised the use of force for the protection of civilians.

Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa abstained from the vote.

The watered down resolution calls on the Syrian government to end all violence, respect all rights and freedoms and allow free media and human rights organisations to enter the country. If this is not done within 30 days the Security Council will "consider its options, including measures under article 41 of the charter of the United Nations".

The US has expressed its outrage at the veto.

US envoy to the UN, Susan Rice said the opposition by China and was a "cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people".

"The United States is outraged that this council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security," she added.

The EU, Denmark, Germany, France and Britain also denounced the veto.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has threatened to impose unilateral sanctions.

He said during a speech in South Africa on Wednesday that the veto of the resolution will not stop Turkey and other European countries from unilaterally taking action.

Turkey is currently harbouring several Syrian dissidents, including Colonel Riad al-Assad, a former Syrian army official who defected after refusing to follow orders and is now head of the armed opposition group, Free Syrian Army.

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