A UN Security Council resolution aimed at stopping attacks in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been vetoed by Russia and China.

The resolution, drafted by New Zealand, Egypt and Spain, called for a halt in the fighting in Aleppo for a period of 7 days to allow urgent humanitarian needs to be addressed and demanded the full implementation of a ceasefire throughout Syria.

Eleven Security Council members supported the draft when it was put to a vote on Monday 5 December, but it was blocked by Russia and China, using their veto power.  Venezuela also voted against the resolution, and Angola abstained.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the use of the veto in response to a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria was “cynical and disappointing”. “There is no justification for the continued bombardment of more than 250,000 civilians trapped in Aleppo and this is yet another example of the urgent need for Security Council reform” he said.

Speaking after the resolution was voted down, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative Gerard van Bohemen told the Security Council that its failure to act was “deeply damaging to its reputation and catastrophic for the people of Syria”.

Despite the resolution not being adopted, New Zealand is continuing to work for the protection of Syrian civilians, as co-lead, with Egypt and Spain, on the Syria humanitarian file in the Security Council, and in the General Assembly.