A resolution proposing to extend cross-border aid for another year without Damascus’ approval has been vetoed by Russia at the UN Security Council. Moscow only asked for a six-month extension, which the West refused. Negotiations continue.
Isolated Russia vetoed at the UN Security Council on Friday, July 8, a draft resolution by Norway and Ireland to extend the mandate of cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria for a year without Damascus’s support, with Moscow only accepting six months. postpone.
Cross-border clearance expires on Sunday, allowing time for the 15-member Security Council to reach an agreement. Diplomats told AFP that the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council should propose a one-year extension of the mandate, especially to escape the showdown between Moscow and the West.
“We will not give up,” said Nicolas de Riviere, France’s ambassador to the United Nations, as talks continued.
On Friday, however, Russia said it disapproved of the midterm elections. “Six months does not mean zero,” Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the media. He hinted that Moscow would not accept any other text that did not occupy six months.
The UN cross-border mechanism has been in effect since 2014 and assists more than 2.4 million jihadist-controlled people and rebels in the Idlib region (northwest) through the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border. In the past, the Council has extended it for six months.
Thirteen of the fifteen members of the Council voted in favour of the Norwegian and Irish texts. China, which has often accompanied Russia’s veto in Syria’s dossier in the past, has opted to abstain this time, a gesture that is reflected in the Western camp.
“The project ignores the sovereignty of Damascus,” Dmitry Polyansky denounced, lamenting the “stubbornness” of Westerners wanting to impose it for another year. It was a “compromise text,” countered Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She added that six months would not be enough to provide significant aid to people who need a “clear timetable”.
Isolated but critical Moscow
Adding to Moscow’s isolation, the Security Council on Friday voted for a second time on Russia’s rival draft, providing for a six-month extension.
The United States, France and the United Kingdom voted against it, the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council abstained, and the Russian project received only two votes in favor of Moscow and Beijing.
To be adopted, the text must receive at least 9 out of 15 votes without one of the 15 permanent members of the Security Council (US, France, UK, Russia, China) having no dissenting votes.
Kenya, on behalf of the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council, announced ahead of the election that the group was “in favour” of extending the system for 12 months.
The 15 members of the Security Council have been negotiating since Wednesday to try to break the impasse between two conflicting deadlines that the West and Russia want. A diplomat who asked not to be named told AFP that further closed-door consultations followed the vote and could continue this weekend.
In recent years, Moscow has repeatedly used its veto power to drastically reduce the United Nations system. His veto is key in Syria’s dossier, the 17th Friday since the Syrian war began in 2011.
In recent weeks, dozens of NGOs and several senior U.N. officials have lobbied for a one-year extension of the cross-border license.