* Russia, China block U.N. action for third time
* U.S. and allies deplore double vetoes
* New 30-day extension proposed for U.N. mission
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (Reuters) – Russia and China vetoed
a U.N. Security Council resolution on Thursday that threatened
Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt violence
against an uprising, thwarting Western hopes for tough action as
the crisis in Syria escalates.
It was the third time that Russia, a key ally of the Syrian
government, and China have used their veto power to block
resolutions designed to pressure Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad and halt the 16-month conflict that has killed
Western states that pushed the resolution reacted angrily to
the Russian and Chinese vetoes.
“The effect of their actions is to protect a brutal regime.
They have chosen to put their national interests ahead of the
lives of millions of Syrians,” Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Mark
Lyall Grant, told the 15-member Security Council after the vote.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice,
called the Russian and Chinese moves “dangerous and deplorable”
and said the Security Council had “failed utterly.”
French Ambassador Gerard Araud called it a sad day for Syria.