Last updated: 23 February, 2012

Russia and China maintains their opposition against foreign intervention in Syria

Russia and China on Thursday rejected pressure to change their position on Syria after vetoing a United Nations resolution condemning the Damascus regime for its bloody crackdown on the opposition.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi to discuss the two powers’ future strategy on the crisis, less than a month after the UN Security Council vote.

“The sides reaffirmed the joint position of Russia and China,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Moscow and Beijing seek “a speedy end to any violence in Syria and the launch of inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the opposition without preconditions for a settlement, and that excluded foreign intervention in Syrian affairs”.

The Russian ministry did not spell out what future actions the two countries had agreed to take amid their continued resistance to any foreign military presence in the country.

Western powers have thus far refused to seriously mull military intervention but are considering humanitarian missions to help civilians that may require the protection of a small foreign force.

The decision by the two veto-wielding Security Council members to block the Western-Arab resolution earlier this month sparked widespread condemnation and was followed by renewed onslaughts by Syrian forces on the opposition stronghold of Homs.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meanwhile called UAE counterpart Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan on his second day of telephone diplomacy with regional leaders who have been upset with Moscow’s stance.

The Kremlin said the UAE leader “met the approaches outlined by the Russian president with understanding”.

Medvedev on Wednesday had also called the leaders of Saudi Arabia as well as Iraq and Iran to shore up regional support for Moscow’s stance.

But Saudi Arabia’s official SPA news agency said King Abdullah told Medvedev that his calls for Syrian dialogue were “futile” and that Russia should have “coordinated with the Arabs… before using the veto”.