RUSSIA and China today vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, drawn up by European nations, threatening action if Syria’s leader does not end a deadly crackdown on a pro-democracy movement.

Nine countries voted for the resolution, but Russia and China voted against, killing the resolution with their veto power as permanent members of the council. South Africa, India, Brazil and Lebanon abstained.

“All efforts have been made to put together a unanimous response,” said France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud of efforts to reach a compromise.

“Numerous concessions” had been made to Russia, China and the abstaining countries, he added.

Araud said the veto showed “disdain for the legitimate interests that have been fought for in Syria” since protests against President Bashar al Assad erupted in mid-March.

It is the first Russian-China veto since the pair blocked UN sanctions against Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe in July 2008.