Russia blocks UN from terming it genocide

UNITED NATION: Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday that would have condemned the Srebrenica massacre as a genocide to mark the 20th anniversary of the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela abstained and the remaining 10 members of the council voted in favour. The vote was delayed by a day as Britain and the United States tried to persuade Russia not to veto the resolution, which would have also condemned denial of the 1995 massacre as a genocide.

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin deemed the British-drafted resolution "not constructive, confrontational and politically motivated." Russia had instead proposed condemning "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community."

The 15-member council was hoping to formally recognise the killings as an act of genocide for the first time this week as Bosnia prepares for national commemorations to mark the 20th anniversary on Saturday.

“This has been a difficult negotiation. Discussions have gone right to the wire,” said a spokesman for the British mission after the vote was delayed twice yesterday.

“Given the significance of the anniversary, we’re committed to getting the broadest level of support from council members.

We hope this delay will allow us to do so.”Bosnian Serb leaders had lobbied Russia to block the draft

UN resolution, arguing that it was “anti-Serb” because it focused on the killings in the final months of the bloody war 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

Serbian and Bosnian Serb politicians have long denied the scale of the bloodshed at Srebrenica — then a United Nations-protected enclave — although two international tribunals have described it as genocide.