Vitaly Churkin, Russia's United Nations permanent representative, talks with a college before addressing the Security Council and the issue of the Arab League's peace plan for Syria at the UN on January 31, 2012 in New York City. The proposed plan calls for the transfer of power from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to his deputy and for free elections to be held. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A resolution supporting the Arab League's peace plan for Syria failed Saturday in the U.N. Security Council when Russia and China refused to support it.
The vote was 13-2 in favor of the resolution, The New York Times reported. Because Russia and China are among the five veto powers, their opposition was fatal.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the vote "a great disappointment to the people of Syria and the Middle East."
"As Syria's crisis deepens, bringing escalating violence and suffering to the Syrian people, the Security Council has lost an opportunity to take unified action that could help end this crisis and forge a peaceful future, with democracy and dignity, for all of the Syrian people," Ban said in a statement. "All violence and human rights violations, especially those carried out by the Syrian authorities, must end immediately."
The Security Council considered the resolution after government forces killed at least 260 civilians in the past day, the opposition Syrian National Council said Saturday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russian TV it could cause a "scandal" on the council if the resolution goes to a vote, Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Russia has opposed previous draft resolutions on Syria.
CNN reported the latest draft of the resolution eliminated Arab League demands Syria form a unity government and President Bashar Assad delegate power to his deputy.
Russia, a major supplier of weapons to Syria, has been wary of signing a resolution that could be viewed as a mandate for regime change.
Russia has expressed concern about a civil war in Syria, opposes removing Assad from power and has also indicated it would reject an arms embargo or economic sanctions.
The draft demanded the Damascus government guarantee freedom of peaceful demonstrations and allow delivery of humanitarian aid while calling for an "inclusive Syrian-led political process."
"It will still put pressure on the Syrian government because they realize that Russia cannot stand up forever," Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said. "And they are under great pressure now. And, you know, Russia does not want to be against the people."