Russia and China have blocked a proposal by the US and France to impose UN sanctions on Central African Republic's (CAR) former president Francois Bozize and two others.
The proposal to sanction Bozize, in particular, was due to his "engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of CAR", according to an eight-page letter to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee on Central African Republic, which was obtained by Reuters.
The sanctioning of Bozize, who was ousted by predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels in March last year, and the other two was to have taken effect on Tuesday, but first Russia and then China raised last-minute objections, diplomats said.
It was the first attempt to blacklist anyone linked to the conflict since a UN sanctions regime was set up in December.
"The Russians and Chinese have a placed a hold on the proposed designations," a diplomat on the 15-member Security Council said.
If agreement is not reached to lift a hold, it can leave proposed sanctions in limbo indefinitely. The Security Council sanctions committee requires unanimity.
Russia's UN mission spokesman declined to comment.
A spokesman for Beijing's mission in New York said: "We would reaffirm that it is China's principled stance to be opposed to resorting to sanctions. Sanctions are not conducive to the proper settlement of problems."
A Western diplomat, however, said he was optimistic that Russia and China would be persuaded to back the designations as they had in the cases of Iran and North Korea.