Security Council on Wednesday voted against a Russian attempt to get the United Nations to cut cross-border humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria, with only four of the 15 nations voting in favor, an official said. .
Russia presented proposal after joining China on Tuesday vetoing one-year extension of delivery aid from Turkey tthrough the two border posts Bab al-Salam, which leads to the Aleppo region, and Bab al-Hawa, which serves the Idlib region.
The Russian resolution proposed to cut humanitarian access in half by using a single crossing point for six months.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft told Reuters news agency that she urged her Security Council counterparts – all of whom voted in favor of Tuesday’s resolution – to oppose the proposal from Russia, calling the choice “good against evil”.
“We are talking about the difference between life and death for millions of Syrians, “she said, adding that council members should continue to press for two border crossings to remain open.
Aid authorization expires on Friday.
“The draft resolution has not been adopted, having not obtained the required number of votes”, the President of the Security Council, the Ambassador of Germany Christoph This Heusgen.
New project in preparation
Resolutions require nine votes and no veto from a permanent member of the Council to be adopted.
Diplomats said Russia, as well as China, Vietnam and South Africa, voted for the Russian resolution.
Against were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and the Dominican Republic.
Tunisia, Niger, Indonesia and Saint Vincent abstained, said the diplomats.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the board operated virtually, which means that members have 24 hours to vote on a draft resolution.
|UNSC: Russia and China veto extension of cross-border aid to Syria|
Craft told AFP news agency that Leaving only one border crossing open would prevent 1.3 million people living north of Aleppo from receiving humanitarian aid.
When asked if the problem was a “red line,” she replied, “Yes, absolutely. ”
Germany and Belgium are preparing a new resolution to renew the authorization for cross-border aid before it expires, she added.
“They already have a new project in mind and we are very supportive,” she said.
Sources told AFP that the two European countries could agree to reduce the extension of the agreement to six months, hoping that this would be enough to satisfy Russia.
The authorization for a cross-border humanitarian operation has been in place since 2014, millions of people having been displaced by the country’s prolonged civil war.
The Security Council in January abandoned Iraq and Jordan crossings due to opposition from Russia and China, but allowed cross-border aid deliveries to continue from the two Turkish crossing points for six months.
Before Tuesday’s vote, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said cross-border access was “vital for the well-being of civilians in northwestern Syria … Des lives depend on it. “
The vote marked the 15th time that Russia has used its veto since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, and the ninth for China.
They argue that the authorization of the UN violates the sovereignty of Syria and that aid can increasingly pass through the Syrian authorities.
Humanitarian aid agencies and human rights groups on Tuesday condemned the use of the veto, with David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee calling the decision “reprehensible”.