AP/Yahoo 'reports' below.
Not a word about China's trade ties w/ the Junta.
China, Russia veto Myanmar resolution
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
China and Russia cast a rare double veto Friday of a U.S. resolution calling on Myanmar's military government to release all political prisoners, speed up progress toward democracy, and stop attacks against ethnic minorities.
The vote in the Security Council was 9-3 with three abstentions. South Africa, a new non-permanent member of the council without veto power, joined China and Russia in opposing the resolution.
China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya and Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin both said the Security Council was not the proper place to discuss Myanmar because the country does not pose a threat to international peace and security.
"We find that attempts aimed at using the Security Council to discuss issues outside its view are unacceptable," Churkin said, noting that problems in Myanmar were being addressed by other U.N. bodies.
While Wang said the council was the wrong place to deal with Myanmar, he urged the country, also known as Burma, to move toward "inclusive democracy" and "speed up the process of dialogue and reform."
Acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff called for the vote knowing in advance the resolution would be vetoed.
"The United States is deeply disappointed by the failure of the council to adopt this resolution," Wolff said. "This resolution would have been a strong and urgently needed statement by the Security Council about the need for change in Burma."
But he added that the people of Myanmar "should not be disheartened" because the vote reflected differences over the Security Council's jurisdiction, not about their plight.
All 15 council members "recognize that there are problems in the areas of human rights, social issues, political freedom," he said.
The country's "military regime arbitrarily arrests, tortures, rapes and executes its own people, wages war on minorities within its own borders, and builds itself new cities while looking the other way as refugee flows increase, narcotics and human trafficking grow, and communicable diseases remain untreated," he said.
The United States softened the resolution late Thursday in an attempt to win greater support for it.
The revised text dropped a statement that would have expressed the Security Council's "gravest concern that the overall situation in Myanmar has deteriorated and poses serious risks to peace and security in the region."
Instead, the new draft underlined "the need for tangible progress in the overall situation in Myanmar in order to minimize the risks to peace and security in the region."
Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari to Myanmar twice last year to meet with government leaders. He was allowed to meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.
Gambari appealed to the government to release all political prisoners, allow all political parties, stop hostilities against ethnic minorities and allow unhindered humanitarian access.
Myanmar's junta took power in 1988 after crushing the democracy movement led by Suu Kyi. In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory. Since then, Suu Kyi has been in and out of detention, kept in near-solitary confinement at her home.
Myanmar's U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe thanked China and Russia and the countries that abstained, stressing that his country posed no threat. Had the resolution been adopted "it would have created a dangerous precedent," he said.
Wolff said Gambari had wanted the resolution to support the secretary-general's "good offices" mission and expressed regret that the council didn't give him its backing. Wang and Churkin said their governments supported the mission despite their vetoes.
A National Convention in Myanmar has been drafting guidelines for a new constitution, the first of seven steps outlined in a "roadmap to democracy" which the junta says will culminate in free elections. But the convention suspended work in late December, and no timetable has been announced for completion of the process.
The defeated draft expressed "deep concern at the slow pace of tangible progress in the process towards national reconciliation." It called on the government "to begin without delay a substantive political dialogue, which would lead to a genuine democratic transition."
The final draft also called on the government "to cease military attacks against civilians in ethnic minority regions," including widespread sexual violence.