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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China, Russia Cast Rare Veto

UNITED NATIONS -- China and Russia cast a rare double veto 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 on Friday was 9-to-3 with three abstentions. South Africa, a new council member without veto power, joined China and Russia in opposing the resolution while Indonesia, Qatar and the Republic of Congo abstained.

The council put Myanmar on its agenda Sept. 15 over strong objections from Russia and China who argued then -- and again Friday -- that the UN's most powerful body was not the proper place to discuss Myanmar because the country did not pose a threat to international peace and security.

The United States called for a vote, knowing in advance the resolution would be vetoed, which clearly annoyed China and Russia. It also raised questions about council unity in the months ahead when it will have to deal with difficult issues including Sudan's conflict-wracked Darfur region and the follow-up to sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

The last multiple veto was in 1989 by the United States, Britain and France on a Panama resolution and the last double veto by Beijing and Moscow was on a 1972 Middle East resolution.