By Arab News
Jordanian Islamists on Sunday called on Muslims and Arabs to boycott Russian and Chinese products after the two countries vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s regime over bloodshed.
“By vetoing the resolution, Russia and China have shown that they are taking part in the killing of Syrian people,” Hammam Said, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on the group’s website.
“All Muslims and Arabs should boycott Russian and Chinese products in order to support the Syrian people, who demand freedom and dignity. The vetoes were against all Arabs and Muslims.”
Said described the crackdown, which rights groups say has killed more than 6,000 people since democracy protests broke out in March last year, as “almost the worst in recent history.”
Russia and China on Saturday used their diplomatic muscle for the second time in four months to block a resolution condemning the violence. The other 13 countries in the 15-member council voted for the resolution, proposed by European and Arab nations to give strong backing to an Arab League plan to end the crackdown.
Meanwhile, the Arab League will continue working to end political violence in Syria to stave off foreign military intervention, league chief Nabil Al-Arabi said on Sunday.
Arabi said the 22-member organization would continue working with the Syrian regime and opposition for a “political solution” to Damascus’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
The Russian and Chinese veto drew stinging criticism from Arab and Turkish officials on Sunday, and Tunisia’s prime minister said that cutting ties with the Syrian regime is the “least that we can do.”
Their vote came shortly after Tunisia, the country whose uprising launched the past year’s upheaval in the Arab world, decided to expel Syria’s ambassador. At a gathering of security officials in Germany, Qatar’s minister for international cooperation said Arab nations had addressed Russia’s fears.
“We say there will not be a military intervention, there will not be removal of the regime, and the economic embargo (is) optional to the Arab states,” Khaled Al-Attiyah said at the Munich Security Conference.
“We thought at this stage that we have satisfied their ego on this resolution,” he added. “Unfortunately yesterday was a sad day; this is exactly what we were fearing … a very bad signal to Assad that there (is a) license to kill.”
Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said that “we have to expel the Syrian ambassadors from Arab countries and other countries.”
“The very least that we can do is to cut our relations to the Syrian regime,” Jebali said. Egypt’s foreign minister, Mohammed Amr, signaled frustration that the UN resolution was vetoed following “one of the few instances when the Arab League really came forward and put forward a full plan for a settlement.” “Now this human tragedy has to stop,” Amr said, adding that Arab League foreign ministers will meet in Cairo next Saturday. “We will evaluate the situation after what happened in the Security Council and hopefully … we will be successful to achieve a peaceful solution,” Amr said.
The foreign minister of Turkey said that “Russia and China did not vote based on the existing realities, but more reflexive attitude against (the) West.”
“The veto power should not be used from this perspective,” Ahmet Davutoglu said. In vetoing a “very soft resolution — which type of message are we giving to the Syrian people or in the region?,” he asked.
Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman, one of the winners of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said of Russia and China that “those two countries bear the moral and human responsibility for these massacres.” “I urge you in the name of the peaceful rebels to expel Syrian ambassadors from your countries and I urge you to call back your ambassadors in Damascus,” Karman said to conference delegates.
“That is the minimum you can do to punish this regime, and I also urge you to take the necessary measures to protect the Syrian people.”
The United States said Russia and China’s veto on Syria was a travesty, adding it would work with other nations to support democratic change in the Arab nation.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pulled no punches in criticizing the vetoes.
“What happened yesterday at the United Nations was a travesty,”
Clinton told a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov during a brief visit to Sofia: “Those countries that refused to support the Arab League plan bear full responsibility for protecting the brutal machine in Damascus.”
Clinton vowed on Sunday to strengthen existing sanctions against the Syrian regime and seek further ones to dry up funding and arms shipments.