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Syria vote may prove costly for three countries seeking more UN clout

Brazil, India, and South Africa all abstained in the Security Council vote condemning violence in Syria. That could cost them some support in their bids for council membership.

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Russia’s and China’s vetoes of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the deadly state-sponsored violence in Syria disappointed the Obama administration, but were not a complete surprise.

But the abstentions cast by three of the council’s rotating members in the vote Tuesday evening – Brazil, India, and South Africa – raised a lot of eyebrows and are likely to have deep and long-lasting repercussions for the workings of the international community.

That’s because the three are aspirants for permanent seats in an envisioned Security Council expansion. As a result, world powers like the US that will ultimately decide who joins the world’s most exclusive – and arguably most powerful – international peace and security club are taking careful note of aspirants’ actions for clues as to how they might use enlarged international powers.

The Syria resolution achieved the minimum nine favorable votes, but was doomed by the rare Russia-China double veto. Lebanon also abstained.

Russia and China may have viewed the abstentions favorably for future reference, but for Western powers and their supporters who increasingly view advancing of a set of universal human rights as a key part of the council’s job, the three rising powers’ vote was troubling.

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