White House: Syria resolution veto is 'regrettable'

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) - A frustrated White House declared that Russia and China placed themselves on the "'wrong side of history" and the "wrong side of the Syrian people" Thursday by vetoing a U.N. resolution pressuring President Bashar Assad to end the bloody conflict in his country.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that the vote was "regrettable" and "highly unfortunate."

The 11-2 vote, with abstentions from South Africa and Pakistan, was the third double veto by Russia and China of a resolution addressing the Syria crisis. Both countries are Damascus' most important allies.

Carney said the lack of U.N consensus "will have repercussions for the countries that vetoed the resolution for a long time in terms of how they're viewed by the Syrian people. Because there is no doubt that Syria's future will not include Bashar Assad."

He added: "It is a mistake to prop up that regime as it comes to an end."

The vote creates uncertainty for the 300-strong U.N. observer mission in Syria, sent there to monitor a cease-fire and implementation of international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan. The mission suspended operations amid intensified fighting. Its mandate expires Friday.

Carney says the United States does not support extending the mission "without the necessary backup."

"The United States does not support extending a mission where you send unarmed U.N. employees into Syria to try to observe the brutality of the Assad regime when there is no mechanism within the resolution to create consequences for the regime for failing to live up to its obligations, its commitments under the Annan plan," Carney said.