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Russia: Why the fury over UN veto on Syria?

Responding to global criticism of Russia's UN veto, Russia's foreign minister said the vote was 'hasty.' He will travel to Damascus Tuesday to meet President Assad. 

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (r.) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet for bilateral talks at the Security Conference on Saturday, in Munich, Germany.

Frank Augstein/AP

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Uncharacteristically defensive over Russia's veto of a UN Security Council resolution that would have urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that he will travel to Damascus Tuesday to urge Mr. Assad to stabilize his strife-torn country through rapid democratic reforms.

Mr. Lavrov and other Russian officials were in full damage control mode Monday after a weekend that saw a global outpouring of criticism directed at Russia and China for blocking unified action on the growing crisis in Syria.

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, called the vetoes "disgusting," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced them as a "travesty," and crowds of protesters in the Lebanese capital of Beirut and the Libyan capital of Tripoli staged furious demonstrations outside the Russian embassies.

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