Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari is seen during a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power in New York. - Reuters Photo

UNITED NATIONS: Russia and China vetoed on Saturday a UN Security Council resolution which backed an Arab League plan for a political transition in Syria as the violence continued unabated in the country.

The other 13 members of the council, including Pakistan and India, voted in favour of the resolution sponsored by Arab and Western nations and aimed at ending the ongoing violence in Syria. The vote was 13 in favour and two against (veto).

Pakistan expressed regrets that the 15-nation council was not able to adopt the resolution, despite the consensus reached on the draft among its members on Thursday that addressed some of the Russian objections.

The double-veto was inflicted following days of intensive negotiations aimed at overcoming Russian opposition to the draft resolution.

“It is a sad day for this council, a sad day for Syrians and a sad day for all friends of democracy,” French Ambassador Gerard Araud said after the resolution was vetoed.

US Ambassador Susan Rice said her country was “disgusted” by the veto, calling the move “shameful”.

Mr Araud said Russia and China had “made themselves complicit in a policy of repression carried out by the Assad regime”.

But the Russian and Chinese envoys defended their decision to block the resolution which they called unbalanced, while voicing their opposition to regime change in Syria.

Russia and China also used their veto powers as permanent council members in October to block a previous Western attempt to condemn the violence in Syria.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed French and American assertion that Russia reneged on a deal. “We were proposing that resolution give more flexibility to the Arab plan,” he added.

He said the resolution did not condemn the Syrian opposition’s armed struggle against the government.

“Some influential members of the international community unfortunately... have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the oppositionists to power,” he said.

China’s ambassador Li Baodong said the resolution would have been counter-productive.